The Lung’ Arno, finest of Pisan streets, though lacking the picturesque buildings on the Lung’ Arno of Florence surpasses it in beauty of line.
The prospect is closed to the east by hills, one of them crowned with the ruins of La Verruca, the strongest fortress of the Republic ; to the west by the arsenal with its stately tower, the Torre Guelfa, behind which the sea is divined, though invisible to the eye, by the peculiar brilliancy of the sunsets.
The many stately palaces adorned with columns of marble that an old Florentine writer of the fifteenth century talks of, have vanished, save one or two, but it can still boast of fine sober structures of the Renaissance, and of that little jewel, the church of S. Maria della Spina, set in its midst right on the very brink of the river.
The northern and far larger part of the city is connected with the southern by four bridges ; from the central one, the Ponte di Mezzo, the whole curve of the Lung’ Arno is seen to perfection.
Of the numerous churches all but a few are small and architecturally plain. S. Paolo a Ripa d’ Arno, S.Francesco, S.Caterina and S.Stefano, have open spaces or green lawns in front. The rest are hidden away in the ancient streets, which are wider than in most mediaeval cities of Italy, plain but interesting in architecture and singularly silent.
( From the book “The Story of Pisa” by Janet Ross and Nelly Erichsen – Illustrade by Nelly Erichsen – London : J.M. Dent & Co, Aldine House, 29 and 30 Bedfod Street Covent Garden, W.C. – 1909 )
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