Pisa

City in central Italy, and a former republic. A Roman city in the 2nd century BC, it developed into a powerful republic early in the 11th century, when it was subjected to continual attacks from the Saracens. It played a prominent part in the Crusades, was the head of the Ghibellines in Tuscany, and was a formidable rival of Genoa and Florence, to whom it finally succumbed in 1509. Its subsequent history coincides with that of Florence, and in 1860 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. The city is said to have been evangelized by Saint Peter and Saint Pierinus, and its first bishop was probably Gaudentius (313). A general council was held there, 1409, and a university erected, 1343. Pisa possesses a famous duomo, or cathedral, begun in 1063, beside which is the celebrated leaning tower, or campanile; and many other specimens of medieval ecclesiastical architecture. It is now the seat of an archdiocese. See also the patron saints index.

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