Florence and Northern Tuscany with Genoa
by Edward Hutton
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It was at this time that Pisa really began to see perhaps her true danger from Florence. Certainly she did everything to prick her into war. But Florence was already victorious. Her answer was more disastrous than any battle; she took her trade from the port of Pisa to the Sienese port Talamone. Then Florence purchased Volterra, over the head of Pisa as it were; and at last, careless whether it pleased the Pisans or no, she permitted the Gambacorti to make raid upon Pisan territory, and allowed Giovanni di Sano, who had lately been in her service, to seize a fortress in the territory of Lucca. The peace was broken. On the brink of ruin, ravaged by plague, Pisa turned to confront her hard, merciless foe. For months Florence ravaged her territory, while she, too weak to strike a blow in her own honour, could but hold her gates. Then the plague left her, and she rose.

Bernabo Visconti was sending her help for 150,000 florins.[40] The English were on the way; already over the mountains, Hawkwood and his White Company were coming to save her; meantime she tried to strike for herself. Pietro Farnese of the Florentines laid her low, taking one hundred and fifty prisoners and her general. The English tarried, but a new ally was already by her side. The Black Death which had brought down her pride, now fell upon the enemy, both in camp and in their city of the Lily: and then—the English were come. On the 1st of February 1364, Hawkwood, with a thousand horse and two thousand foot, drove the Florentines through the Val di Nievole; he harried them above Vinci and chased them through Serravalle, crushed them at Castel di Montale, and scattered them in the valley of Arno. They found their city at last, as foxes find their holes, and went to earth. There Pisa halted. Before the gates of Pisa the Florentines for years had struck money: so the Pisans did before Florence. Nor was this all. Halting there three days, says the chronicle,[41] "they caused three palii to be run well-nigh to the gates of Florence. One was on horseback, another was on foot, and the third was run by loose women (le feminine mundane); and they caused newly-made priests to sing Mass there, and they coined money of divers kinds of gold and of silver; and on one side thereof was Our Lady, with Her Son in Her arms; on the other side was the Eagle, with the Lion beneath its feet.... Thereafter for further dispite they set up a pair of gallows over against the gate of Florence, and hanged thereon three asses."

Florence refused to submit. Other Free Companies such as Hawkwood's joined in the war. The Florentines hired that of the Star. But Hawkwood was not to be denied. He marched up Arno, devastating the country, and at last deigned to return to Pisa by Cortona and Siena.

Then Florence did what might have been expected. She bribed Baumgarten, who with his Germans had fought since the rout with Hawkwood. They met at the Borgo di Cascina on 28th July. Hawkwood was caught napping, and Pisa in her turn was humbled. The Florentines returned with two thousand prisoners, having slain a thousand men. They took with them "forty-two wagons full of prisoners, all packed together 'like melons,' with a dead eagle tied by the neck and dragging along the ground."[42] Such was war in Italy in the fourteenth century.

Then followed the Doge Agnello: the greatness of Pisa was past.

It had ever been the plan of Milan to weaken Florence by aiding Pisa, and to weaken Pisa by this continual war, for it was the Visconti's dream to carry their dominion into Tuscany. Now at this time, amid all these disasters, the Pisan ambassador at Milan was a certain Giovanni dell' Agnello, a merchant, ambitious but without honour. This plebeian readily lent himself to the Visconti to betray the city, if thereby he might win power; and this Visconti promised him, for, said he, "if I win Pisa, you shall be my lieutenant, and all the world will take you even for my ally."

Agnello went back to Pisa full of this dream:[43] and at the first opportunity suggested that Visconti would be flattered if a Lord were to be elected in Pisa, if only for a year at a time; and in his subtilty he proposed Pietro d' Albizzo da Vico, a very much respected (di gran stima) citizen, as Lord. But Messer Pietro replied by asking to be sent with other citizens to Pescia to arrange the peace with Florence. Then a certain Vanni Botticella applied for the post; and Agnello praised him for his patriotism, but asked him whether he had money enough to be Lord. Certainly Pisa had fallen. By this Agnello was suspected, and indeed one night certain citizens got leave to search his house, for they believed him to be a traitor[44]. But he had warning, and already Hawkwood had sold himself, for it was his business. So, when those citizens had returned disappointed, for they found Agnello abed, he arose and joined his bandits. With Hawkwood he went to the Palazzo dei Anziani, bound the guard and had the Elders summoned, and told them a tale of how the Blessed Virgin had bidden him assume the lordship of the city. Well, he had his way, his bandits saw to that; so the Anziani agreed and swore obedience. Next day Pisa acclaimed her Doge.

Agnello remained Doge, or Lord as he preferred to be called, for four years. Then Charles IV marched back over the Alps into Italy. Bought off and thwarted in Lombardy, he came towards Lucca, which the Lucchesi exiles again offered to buy from him. Agnello was terrified. In haste he sent to Charles offering to give him Lucca if he were made sure in Pisa. Outside the walls of Lucca, Charles knighted this astute tradesman. Agnello ran back to Pisa and conferred knighthood on his nephews. Then he built a platform and awaited the Emperor. His end was in keeping with his life. As he stood on the insecure "hustings" which he had built, that in sight of all the people Charles might declare him Imperial Vicar of Pisa, the platform collapsed and Agnello's leg was broken. Now, whether the comic spirit, so helpful to justice, be strong in our Pisans still, I know not, but on learning of the misfortune of their Lord, they rose, and, without noticing their Imperial Vicar, appointed Anziani to rule by the old laws.

Then the burghers and nobles—"Cittadini amatori della Patria," Tronci calls them—formed the Campagnia di S. Michele, for it bore on its gonfalon St. Michael Archangel, and the black eagle of the Empire. It was the business of this company to restore peace and unity to the city. The leaders resolved to recall the exiles, among them Pietro Gambacorti. He came, and the city greeted him, and he swore to serve the Republic and to forgive his enemies. A riot followed; the Bergolini armed themselves and burnt the Gambacorti palaces. But Pietro Gambacorti called to the city, which had risen to defend itself and to make reprisals, saying, "I have pardoned them—I, whose parents they slew. By what right do you refuse to do what I have done?"[45] The Bergolini took the government, and there was peace. Then the Campagnia di S. Michele broke up.

Not for long, however, could there be peace in Pisa. The Raspanti still held one of the gates; and thinking to better themselves, they sent an embassy to Charles, who was in Lucca, asking his help. He imprisoned the embassy, and at once sent his Germans to seize the city. But the Pisans heard of it. They rang the great bells in the Campanile, and barricaded the gates with the benches and stalls in the Duomo, on the Baptistery they set their bowmen, and on the Campanile the slingers. Then they tore up the streets, and waited to give death for death. The Germans, however, were easily beaten and bought off, and Pisa again returned to her internal quarrels.

Out of these sprang, in 1385, Pietro Gambacorti, as Captain of the people. It was the beginning of the last twenty years of Pisa's life as an independent city. She now stood between Visconti in the north and Florence close at hand. Florence was her friend against Visconti for her own sake: she meant to have Pisa herself. Gambacorti did his best. With infinite tact he kept friends with both cities. Under him Pisa seemed to regain something of her old confidence and prosperity. A man of fine courage, simplicity, and passing honest, he was incapable of suspecting a tried friend whom he had benefited. Yet it was by the hand of such an one he fell.

Jacopo d'Appiano's father had been exiled with Gambacorti in 1348. Like many another Pisan house which had risen from nothing, Appiano was at feud with certain of his fellow-citizens, among them the Lanfranchi family. For this cause he kept a guard about him. Now Gambacorti, who remembered his father's exile, made Appiano permanent "Chancellor of the Republic": and hoping to reconcile the Lanfranchi with the new chancellor, he sent for Lanfranchi, but the bandits of Appiano murdered him as he went thither, and then joined Appiano in his house. Gambacorti ordered his chancellor to deliver them up, but he refused. Then the Bergolini offered Gambacorti their assistance, but he refused it, trusting to justice. Appiano, however, at the head of the Raspanti, marched to the palace of Gambacorti. The city was in arms, and they had to fight their way. Arrived before the palace, Gambacorti ordering his men not to shoot his friend, agreed to confer with Appiano. So he went out of his house, and as Appiano stretched out his hand, in token, as it were, of friendship, his bandits fell upon him and slew him. A fight followed, in which the Bergolini were beaten; then Appiano became Captain of the People. In truth, it was only a device of Visconti for seizing the city. Appiano admitted the Milanese, and what Agnello had failed to do, he did, for he ruled as the creature of Gian Galeazzo. But there is no honour among thieves. Soon Visconti, hoping to win Pisa all for himself, plotted against Appiano. The quarrel went on, Appiano fearing to make treaty with Florence lest he should fall, and fearing, too, to decide with Visconti lest he should be murdered, till he died, and his son became Captain, only to sell Pisa to Visconti for 200,000 florins, with Elba also, and many castles.[46] Then Gian Galeazzo died in 1404.

Now Florence knew that in the confusion which followed the death of the great Visconti, Pisa was weak and almost without defence, so without hesitation she sent an army to seize the city: but Pisa, always at her best in danger, worked night and day, nor was any man idle in building fortifications. In Genoa the Frenchman Boucicault, who had held that city, came to her assistance, for the last thing Genoa or Milan desired was to see Pisa and her port in the hands of Florence. Boucicault imprisoned all the Florentines in Genoa, and seized Livorno, nor would he agree to release his prisoners till Florence had signed a four years' peace. But Pisa soon wearied of this. In the grip of Genoa, fearing Visconti, unable to save herself, she revolted, and Boucicault sold her to Florence, for he had to defend himself in Genoa. It was in August 1405 that Pisa was given up to Florence, but although for a moment Florence then held the city, she was to fight for it in earnest before she could hold it for good. As yet she only possessed the citadel, and by a ruse the Pisans managed to win that from her: then they sent to Florence to negotiate. They offered to buy their freedom, but Florence was obdurate. She was determined to possess herself of Pisa; her armies were ordered to advance.

Pisa was ready. At that moment all feuds were forgotten; a united city opposed the Florentines: there was but one way to take it—by famine. And it was thus at last, on 9th October 1406, Pisa fell. Preferring to die rather than to surrender, it would have been into a city of the dead that the armies of Florence would have marched, but for the brutal treachery of Giovanni Gambacorti. As it was, it was only a city of the dying that Florence occupied. After every kind of heroic effort, Giovanni Gambacorti sold Pisa when she was too weak to fight, save against a declared enemy, for 50,000 florins, the citizenship of Florence and Borgo to rule. He opened the gates, and Florence streamed in. There was scarcely a crust left in the city which was at last become the vassal of Florence.

Here, truly, the chronicles of Pisa end—in the horrid cruelty, scorn, and disdain so characteristic of the Florentine. Certainly with the Medici a more humane government was adopted, so that in 1472 we read of Lorenzo Magnifico restoring the University to something of its old splendour, but nothing he could do was able to extinguish the undying hatred of Pisa for those who had stolen away her liberty. In 1494 that carnival army of Charles VIII, winding through the valleys and over the mountains, seemed to offer them a hope of freedom. They welcomed him with every sort of joy, and hurled the Marzocco and the Gonfalon of Florence into Arno, all to no purpose. And truly without hope, from 1479 to 1505, they bore heroically three sieges and flung back three different armies of Florence. Soderini and Macchiavelli urged on the war. In 1509, Macchiavelli, that mysterious great man, besieged her on three sides, and at last, forced by hunger and famine, Pisa admitted him on the 8th June. It was her last fight for liberty. But she had won for herself the respect of her enemies. A more humane and moderate policy was adopted in dealing with her. Nevertheless, as in 1406, so now, her citizens fled away, so that there was scarcely left a Pisan in Pisa for the victor to rule.

Grand Duke Cosimo seems to have loved her. It was there he founded his Order of the Knights of St. Stephen to harry the pirates in the Mediterranean. Still she was a power on the sea, though in the service of another. And though dead, she yet lived, for she is of those who cannot die. The ever-glorious name of Galileo Galilei crowns her immortality. Born within her walls, he taught at her University, and his first experiments in the knowledge of the law of gravity were made from her bell-tower, while, as it is said, the great lamp of her Duomo taught him the secret of the pendulum.

Looking on her to-day, remembering her immortal story, one thinks only of the beauty that is from of old secure in silence on that meadow among the daisies just within her walls.


It is with a peculiar charm and sweetness that Pisa offers herself to the stranger, who maybe between two trains has not much time to give her. And indeed to him she knows she has not much to offer, just a few things passing strange or beautiful, that are spread out for him as at a fair, on the grass of a meadow in the dust and the sun. But to such an one Pisa can never be more than a vision, vanished as soon as seen, in the heat of midday or the shadow of evening.

But for me, of all the cities that grow among the flowers in Tuscany, it is Pisa that I love best. She is full of the sun; she has the gift of silence. Her story is splendid, unfortunate, and bitter, and moves to the song of the sea: still she keeps her old ways about her, the life of to-day has not troubled her at all. In her palaces the great mirrors are still filled with the ghosts of the eighteenth century; on her Lung' Arno you may almost see Byron drive by to mount his horse at the gate, while in the Pineta, not far away, Shelley lies at noonday writing verses to Miranda.

It is on the Lung' Arno, curved like a bow, so much more lovely than any Florentine way, that what little world is left to Pisa lingers yet. Before one is the Ponte di Mezzo, the most ancient bridge of the city, built in 1660, but really the representative of its forerunners that here bound north and south together: En moles olim lapidea vix aetatem ferrus nunc mormorea pulchrior et firmior stat simulato Marte virtutis verae specimen saepe datura, you read on one of the pillars at the northern end. For indeed the first bridge seems to have been of wood, partly rebuilt of stone after the great victory off the coast of Sicily, and finished in 1046[47]. This bridge, called the Ponte Vecchio, took ten years to build, and any doubt we might have as to whether it was of wood or stone is set at rest by Tronci,[48] who tells us that in 1382, "Pietro Gambacorta, together with the Elders and the Consiglio dei Cittadini, determined to rebuild in stone the bridge of wood which passed over Arno from the mouth of the Strada del Borgo to that of S. Egidio, for the greater ornament of the city, chiefly because there were many shops on the bridge that impeded the view of the beautiful Lung' Arno." One sees the bridge that was thus built, the foundations having been laid with much ceremony, a procession and a sung mass, in a seventeenth-century print in the Museo Civico.[49] There is a buttress a quarter of the way from each end, on which houses were still standing. Then in 1635 this bridge was carried away by a flood. A new bridge was immediately built, only to be destroyed in the same way on 1st January 1644. In 1660 the present Ponte di Mezzo was finished by Francesco Nave of Rome.

It was on these bridges that the great Pisan game the Giuoco del Ponte was played,[50] a model of which may be found in the Museo. This new bridge, at any rate, does not shut out the view of the beautiful Lung' Arno, il bello di Pisa, as one writer calls it. Standing there you may see the yellow river, curved like a bow, pass through the beautiful city, between the palaces of marble, their wrinkled image reflected in the stream, till it is lost in the green fields on its way to the sea; while on the other side, looking eastward, on either side the river are the palaces of Byron and Shelley, just before the hideous iron bridge, where Arno turns suddenly into the city from the plain and the hills. To the south of the bridge is the Loggia dei Banchi, and farther to the west, on the Lung' Arno, the great palace of the Gambacorti rises, now the Palazzo del Comune, and farther still, the Madonna della Spina, a little Gothic church of marble; while if you pass a little way westward, the Torre Guelfa comes into sight at the bend of the river among the ruins of the old arsenal.

It is of course to the wonderful group of buildings to the north of the city, just within the walls, that every traveller will first make his way. Passing from Ponte di Mezzo down the Lung' Arno Regio, past the Palazzo Agostini, beautiful in its red brick past Palazzo Lanfreducci with its little chain and enigmatic motto, "Alla Giornata," past the Grand Ducal Palace, you turn at last into the Via S. Maria, a beautiful and lovely street that winds like a stream full of shadows to the Piazza del Duomo. On your right is the Church of S. Niccolo, founded about the year 1000 by Ugo, Marquis of Tuscany. It seems that with Otho III there came into Italy the Marquis Hugh. "I take it," says Villani,[51] "this must have been the Marquis of Brandenburg, inasmuch as there is no other marquisate in Germany." His sojourn in Italy, and especially in our city of Florence, liked him so well that he caused his wife to come thither, and took up his abode in Florence as Vicar of Otho the Emperor. It came to pass as it pleased God, that when he was riding to the chase in the country of Bonsollazzo, he lost sight of all his followers in a wood, and came out, as he supposed, at a workshop where iron was wont to be wrought. Here he found men black and deformed, who in place of iron seemed to be tormenting men with fire and with hammer, and he asked them what this might be: and they answered and said that these were damned souls, and that to similar pains was condemned the soul of the Marquis Hugh by reason of his worldly life, unless he should repent. With great fear he commended himself to the Virgin Mary, and when the vision was ended he remained so pricked in spirit, that after his return to Florence he sold all his patrimony in Germany and commanded that seven monasteries should be founded. The first was the Badia of Florence, to the honour of St. Mary; the second, that of Bonsollazzo, where he beheld the vision; the third was founded at Arezzo, the fourth at Poggibonizzi, the fifth at the Verruca of Pisa, the sixth at the city of Castello, the last was the one at Settimo; and all these abbeys he richly endowed, and lived afterwards with his wife in holy life, and had no son, and died in the city of Florence on St. Thomas's Day in the year of Christ 1006, and was buried with great honour in the Badia of Florence. Tronci[52] says, that beside the Badia di S. Michele di Verruca outside Pisa, "this most pious Marquis" founded also the Church of S. Niccolo, for the use of the Monks of S. Michele Fuori. The Church of S. Niccolo has been altogether restored. The Campanile, however, the oldest tower left in the city, is strange and lovely. It has been given to Niccolo Pisano, but is certainly older than his day, and, resembling as it does the tower of the Badia at Florence and of the Badia at Settimo, seems to be of the same date as the church. There is a gallery joining the church with the palace of the Grand Dukes, to which it served as chapel.

Coming as one does out from this narrow deserted street of S. Maria into the space and breadth of the Piazza del Duomo, one is almost blinded by the sudden light and glory of the sun on those buildings, that seem to be made of old ivory intricately carved and infinitely noble. Standing there as though left stranded upon some shore that life has long deserted, they are an everlasting witness to the Latin genius, symbols as it were of what has had to be given up so that we may follow life at the heels of the barbarian Teuton.

It was in 1063,[53] after the great victory at Palermo, that the ships of the Republic returning full of spoil, "after much discourse made in the Senate,"[54] it was decided at last to build "a most magnificent temple" to S. Maria Assunta, for it was about the time of her Festa, that is to say, the 15th August, that the victory had been won. This having been decided on, the Republic sent ambassadors to Rome to the Pope and to King Henry of Germany, and the Pope sent the church many privileges, and the King a royal dowry. So they began to build the temple where stood the old Church of S. Reparata, and more anciently the Baths of the Emperor Hadrian; and they brought marble from Africa, Egypt, Jerusalem, Sardinia, and other far places to adorn the church. In 1065 we read that the Pope received under his protection the Chapter and Canons of Pisa. The Cathedral was finished in about thirty years, and was consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118. The architects, two dim names still to be read on the facade ever kissed by the setting sun, were Rainaldus and Busketus. They built in that Pisan style which, as some of us may think, was never equalled till Bramante and his disciples dreamed of St. Peter's and built the little church at Todi, and S. Pietro in Montorio. However this may be, the Duomo of Pisa, the first modern cathedral of Italy, was to be the pattern of many a church built later in the contado, and even in Lucca and Pistoja and the country round about. It was a style at once splendid and devout, not forgetful of the Roman Empire, yet with new thoughts concerning it, so that where a Roman building had once really stood, now a Latin Church should stand, white with marble and glistening with precious stones. It is strange to find in this far-away piazza the great buildings of the city; and stranger still, when we remember that S. Reparata, the church that was destroyed to make room for the Duomo, was called S. Reparata in Palude, in the swamp. It may be that Pisa was less open to attack on this side, or that this being the highest spot near the city, a flood was less to be feared. But there were other foes beside the flood and the enemy, for the church was damaged by fire in 1595, and was restored in 1604.

The Duomo is a basilica with nave and double aisles[55], with a transept flanked with aisles, covered by a dome over the crossing. Built all of white marble, that has faded to the tone of old ivory, it is ornamented with black and coloured bands, and stands on a beautiful marble platform in the grass of a meadow. It is, however, the facade that is the most splendid and beautiful part of the church. It consists of seven round arches; in the centre and in each alternate arch is a door of bronze made by Giovanni da Bologna in 1602. Above these arches is the first tier of columns, eighteen in number, of various coloured marbles, supporting the round arches of the first storey; above, the roof of the aisles slopes gradually inwards, and is supported again by a tier of pillars of various marbles, while above rise two other tiers supporting the roof of the nave. On the corners of the church and on the corners of the nave are figures of saints, while above all, on the cusp of the facade, stands Madonna with Her Son in Her arms. The door in the south transept is by Bonannus, whose great doors were destroyed in 1595.

Within, the church is solemn and full of light. Sixty-eight antique columns, the spoil of war, uphold the church, while above is a coffered Renaissance ceiling, of the seventeenth century. There is but little to see beside the church itself, a few altar-pieces, one by Andrea del Sarto; a few tombs; the bronze lamp of Battista Lorenzi, which is said to have suggested the pendulum to Galileo, and that is all in the nave. The choir screens, work of the Renaissance, are very lovely, while above them are the ambones, from which on a Festa the Epistle and Gospel are sung. The stalls are of the end of the fifteenth century, and the altar, a dreadful over-decorated work, of the year 1825. Matteo Civitali of Lucca made the wooden lectern behind the high altar, and Giovanni da Bologna forged the crucifix, while Andrea del Sarto, not at his best, painted the Saints Margaret and Catherine, Peter and John, to the right and left of the altar. The capital of the porphyry column here is by Stagio Stagi of Pietrasanta, while the porphyry vase is a prize from a crusade. The mosaics in the apsis are much restored, but they are the only known work of Cimabue,[56] and are consequently, even in their present condition, valuable and interesting. The most beautiful and the most interesting work of art in the Duomo is the Madonna, carved in ivory in 1300 by Giovanni Pisano, in the sacristy. This Madonna is a most important link in the history of Italian art; it seems to suggest the way in which French influence in sculpture came into Italy. Such work as this, by some French master, probably came not infrequently into Italian hands; nor was its advent without significance; you may find its influence in all Giovanni's work, and in how much of that which came later.[57]

It is but a step across that green meadow to the Baptistery, that like a casket of ivory and silver stands to the west of the Duomo. It was begun in 1153 by Diotisalvi, but the work went very slowly forward. In 1164, out of 34,000 families in Pisa subject to taxes, each gave a gold sequin for the continuation of the work, but it was not finished altogether till the fourteenth century. There are four doors; above them on the east and north are sculptures of the thirteenth century.[58]

Truly, one might as well try to describe the face of one's angel as these holy places of Pisa, which are catalogued in every guide-book ever written. At least I will withhold my hand from desecrating further that which is still so lovely. Only, if you would hear the heavenly choirs before death has his triumph over you, go by night into the Baptistery, having bribed some choir-boy to sing for you, and you shall hear from that marvellous roof a thousand angels singing round the feet of San Raniero.

Perhaps the loveliest thing here is the great octagonal font of various marbles, in which every Pisan child has been christened since 1157; but it is the pulpit of Niccolo Pisano that everyone praises.

Niccolo Pisano appears to have been born in Apulia, and to have come to Pisa about the middle of the thirteenth century. We know scarcely anything of his life. The earliest record in which we find his name is the contract of 1265, in which he binds himself to make a pulpit for the Duomo of Siena.[59] There he is called Magister Niccolus lapidum de paroccia ecclesie Sancti Blasii de Ponte, de Pisis quondam Petri. Another document of later date describes him as Magister Nichola Pietri de Apulia. Coming thus to Pisa from Apulia, possibly after many wanderings, in about 1250, his childhood had been passed not among the Tuscan hills, but in Southern Italy among the relics of the Roman world. It is not any sudden revelation of Roman splendour he receives in the Campo Santo of Pisa, but just a reminder, as it were, of the things of his childhood, the broken statues of Rome that littered the country of his birth. Thus in a moment this Southerner transforms the rude art of his time here in Tuscany, the work of Bonannus, for instance, the carvings of Biduinus, and the bas-reliefs at San Cassiano,[60] with the faint memory of Rome that lingered like a ghost in the minds of men, that already had risen in the laws and government of the cities, in the desire of men here in Pisa, for instance, for liberty, and that was soon to recreate the world. If the Roman law still lived as tradition and custom in the hearts of men, the statues of the gods were but hiding for a little time in Latin earth. It was Niccolo Pisano who first brought them forth.

The pulpit which he made for Pisa—perhaps his earliest work—is in the form of a hexagon resting upon nine columns; the central pillar is set on a strange group, a man, a griffin, and animals; three others are poised on the backs of lions; while three are set on simple pediments on the ground; and three again support the steps. A "trefoil arch" connects the six chief pillars, on each of which stands a statue of a Virtue. It is here that we came for the first time upon a figure not of the Christian world, for Fortitude is represented as Hercules with a lion's cub on his shoulder. In the spandrels of the trefoils are the four Evangelists and six Prophets. Above the Virtues rise pillars clustered in threes, framing the five bas-reliefs and supporting the parapet of the pulpit; and it is here, by these the most beautiful and extraordinary works of that age in Italy, that Niccolo Pisano will be for ever remembered.

Poor in composition though they be, they are full of marvellous energy, a Roman dignity and weight. It is antiquity flowering again in a Christian soil, with a certain new radiance and sweetness about it, a naivete almost ascetic, that was certainly impossible from any Roman hand.

On the far side you may see the Birth of Our Lord, where Mary sits in the midst, enthroned, unmoved, with all the serenity of a goddess, while in another part the angel brings her the message with the gesture of an orator. Consider, then, those horses' heads in the Adoration of the Magi, or the high priest in the Presentation, and then compare them with the rude work of Bonannus on the south transept door of the Duomo; no Pisan, certainly no Tuscan, could have carved them thus in high relief with the very splendour of old Rome in every line. And in the Crucifixion you see Christ really for the first time as a God reigning from the cross; while Madonna, fallen at last, is not the weeping Mary of the Christians, but the mother of the Gracchi who has lost her elder son. In the Last Judgment it is a splendid God you see among a crowd of men with heads like the busts in a Roman gallery, with all the aloofness and dignity of those weary emperors. There is almost nothing here of any natural life observed for the first time, and but little of the Christian asceticism so marvellously lovely in the French work of this age; Niccolo has in some way discovered classic art, and has been content with that, as the humanists of the Renaissance were to be content with the discovery of ancient literature later: he has imitated the statues and the bas-reliefs of the sarcophagi, as they copied Cicero.

To pass from the Baptistery into the Campo Santo, where among Christian graves the cypresses are dying in the earth of Calvary, and the urns and sarcophagi of pagan days hold Christian dust, is perhaps to make easier the explanation we need of the art of Niccolo. Here, it is said, he often wandered "among the many spoils of marbles brought by the armaments of Pisa to this city." Among these ancient sarcophagi there is one where you may find the Chase of Meleager and the Calydonian boar; this was placed by the Pisans in the facade of the Duomo opposite S. Rocco, and was used as a tomb for the Contessa Beatrice, the mother of the great Contessa Matilda. Was it while wandering here, in looking so often on that tomb on his way to Mass, that he was moved by its beauty till his heart remembered its childhood in a whole world of such things? It must have been so, for here all things meet together and are reconciled in death.

Out of the dust and heat of the Piazza one comes into a cool cloister that surrounds a quadrangle open to the sky, in which a cypress still lives. The sun fills the garden with a golden beauty, in which the butterflies flit from flower to flower over the dead. I do not know a place more silent or more beautiful. One lingers in the cool shadow of the cloisters before many an old marble,—a vase carved with Bacchanalian women, the head of Achilles, or the bust of Isotta of Rimini. But it is before the fresco of the Triumph of Death that one stays longest, trying to understand the dainty treatment of so horrible a subject. Those fair ladies riding on horseback with so brave a show of cavaliers, even they too must come at last to be just dust, is it, or like that swollen body, which seems to taint even the summer sunshine, lying there by the wayside, and come upon so unexpectedly? What love-song was that troubadour, fluttering with ribbons, singing to that little company under the orange-trees, cavaliers and ladies returned from the chase, or whiling away a summer afternoon playing with their falcons and their dogs? The servants have spread rich carpets for their feet, and into the picture trips a singing girl, who has surely called the very loves from Paradise or from the apple-trees covered with blossom, where they make their temporary abode. What love song were they singing, ere the music was frozen on their lips by a falling leaf or chance flutter of bird life calling them to turn, and lo, Death is here?

It is in such a place as this that any meditation upon death loses both its sentimental and its ascetic aspect, and becomes wholly aesthetic, so that it can never be before this fresco that such a contemplation should be, as it were, "a lifelong following of one's own funeral." And indeed, it is not any gross fear of death that comes to one at all here in the mysterious sunshine, but a new delight in life. Those joyful pleasant paintings of Benozzo Gozzoli, a third-rate master, but one who is always full of joy and sunshine, with a certain understanding and love, too, of the hills and the trees, seem to confirm us in our delight at the sun and the sea wind, here in Italy, in Italy at last. For, indeed, in what other land than this could a cemetery be so beautiful, and where else in the world do frescoes like these stain the walls out of doors amid a litter of antique statues, graves, and flowers over the heroic or holy dead? Here you may see life at its sanest and most splendid moments. In the long hot days of the vintage, for instance, when the young men tread the wine-press, the girls bear the grapes in great baskets, and boy and girl together pluck the purple fruit. Call it, if you will, the Drunkenness of Noah, you will forget the subject altogether in your delight in the sun and the joy of the vintage itself, where the girls dance among the vines under the burden of the grapes, and the little children play with the dogs, and the goodman tastes the wine. Or again, in the fresco of the Tower of Babel: think if you can of all the mere horror of the confusion, and the terror of death, but in a moment you will forget it, remembering only that heroic Republic which amid her enemies built her splendid city, her beautiful Duomo, her Tower like the horn of an unicorn, and this Campo Santo too, where the hours pass so softly, and the hottest days are cool and full of delight. The Victory of Abraham is a battle gay with the banners of Pisa, when the Gonfalons of Florence lay low in the dust. The Curse of Ham, with its multitude of children, is just the departure of some prodigal for the Sardinian wars on a summer evening beyond the city gate. Thus alone in this place of death Pisa lives, ah! not in the desolate streets of the modern city, but fading on the walls of her Campo Santo, a ghost among ghosts, immortalised by an alien hand.

Coming last of all to the greatest wonder of the Piazza, it is really with surprise you find the Campanile so beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful tower of Italy. It is like a lily leaning in the wind, it is like the slanting horn of an unicorn, it is like an ivory Madonna that the artist has not had the heart to carve since the ivory was so fair. Begun in 1174, it was designed by Bonannus. He made it all of white marble, which has faded now to the colour of old ivory. Far away at the top of the tower live the great bells, and especially La Pasquareccia,[61] founded in 1262, stamped with a relief of the Annunciation, for it used to ring the Ave. I think there can be no reasonable doubt that the lean of the Tower is due to some terrible accident which befell it after the third gallery had been built, for the fourth gallery, added in 1204 by Benenabo, begins to rectify the sinking; the rest, built in 1260, continues to throw the weight from the lower to the higher side. As we know, the whole Piazza was a marsh, and just as the foundations of the Tower of S. Niccolo have given a little, so these sank much earlier, offering an unique opportunity to a barbarian architect. There is, as has been often very rightly said, no such thing as a freak in Italian art: its aim was beauty, very simple and direct; nowhere in all its history will you find a grotesque such as this. It is strange that a northerner, William of Innspruck, finished the Tower the fifth storey in 1260; and it may well be that this Teuton brought to the work something of a natural delight in such a thing as this, and contrived to finish it, instead of beginning again. It seems necessary to add that the tower would be more beautiful if it were perfectly upright.

The Piazza del Duomo is full of interest. Almost opposite the Campanile, at the corner of the Via S. Maria, is the Casa dei Trovatelli. It was here, as I suppose,[62] that the Pisans built that hospital and chapel to S. Giorgio after the great day of Montecatini.[63] Not far away, behind the Via Torelli in Via Arcevescovado, is the archbishop's palace, with a fine courtyard. If we follow the Via Torelli a little, we pass, on the right, the Oratory of S. Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa, where there is a crucifix by Giunta Pisano which used to hang in the kitchen of the Convent of S. Anna,[64] not far away, where Emilia Viviani was "incarcerated," as Shelley says. Close by are the few remains of the Baths of Hadrian. At the corner we pass into Via S. Anna, and then, taking the first turning to the left, we come into the great Piazza di S. Caterina, before the church of that name. Built in the thirteenth century, it has a fine Pisan facade, but the church is now closed and the convent has become a boys' school. Passing through the shady Piazza under the plane-trees, we come into the Via S. Lorenzo, and then, turning to the right into Vicolo del Ruschi, we come into a Piazza out of which opens the Piazza di S. Francesco. S. Francesco fell on evil days, and was altogether desecrated, but is now in the hands of the Franciscans again. This is well, for the whole church, founded in 1211, and not the Campanile only, is said to be by Niccolo Pisano.[65] Behind it, in the old convent, is the Museo.

As you come into this desecrated and ruined cloister littered with rubbish, among which here and there you may see some quaint or charming thing, it is difficult to remember S. Francis. Yet, indeed, the place was founded by two of his followers, the blessed Agnolo and the blessed Alberto, and still holds in a locked room one of the most extraordinary of his portraits. In the old Chapter-house are some fragments of the pulpit from the Duomo by Giovanni Pisano, destroyed in the fire of 1595. Here we may see very easily the difference between father and son. It is no longer the influence of the antique that gives life to Italian sculpture, but certainly French work, something of that passionate restless energy that, whether we like it or not, puts certain statues at Chartres, for instance, without shame beside the best Greek work. The subjects of these panels are the same as those of Niccolo's pulpit in the Baptistery; one could not wish for a better opportunity of comparing the work of the two men who stand at the source of the Renaissance.

Passing through the cloister, we enter the convent through a great room on the first floor, hung with the banners of the Giuoco del Ponte, and bright with service books. In a little room on the left (Sala I) we come into the gallery proper. Here, among all sorts of stained parchments, is the precious remnant of the Cintola del Duomo, that girdle of Maria Assunta which used to be bound round the Duomo.[66] It took some three hundred yards of the fabric, crusted with precious stones, painted with miniatures, sewn with gold and silver, to gird the Duomo. I know not when first it was made, nor who first conceived the proud thought,[67] nor what particular victory put it into his heart. Only the tyrant and thief who stole it I know, Gambacorti, whom Pisa brought back from exile.

In the chamber next to this are some strangely beautiful crucifixes by Giunta Pisano, and a little marvellous portrait of S. Francesco on copper with a bright red book in his hand.

Of the pictures which follow, but two ever made any impression upon me. One, a Madonna and Child by Gentile da Fabriano, is full of a mysterious loveliness that did not survive him; the other is an altar-piece from S. Caterina by Simone Martini of Siena, where a Magdalen holds the delicate casket of precious ointment, and, as though fainting with the sweetness of her weeping, leans a little, her sleepy, languorous eyes drooping under her heavy hair, which a jewelled ribbon hardly holds up. Something in this "primitive" art has been lost when we come to Angelico, some almost morbid loveliness that you may find even yet in the air about Perugia and Siena, in the delicate flowers there, the honeysuckle which the country people call le manine della Madonnina—the little hands of the Virgin, and even in the people sometimes, in their soft gestures and dreamy looks. And for these I pass by the pictures by Benozzo Gozzoli, by Sodoma, and the rest, for they are as nothing.

It is, however, not a work of art at all that is perhaps the most interesting thing in the Museo; but a model of the Giuoco del Ponte, with certain banners, flags, bucklers, and such, once used by the Pisans in their national game.[68] This Giuoco was played on the Ponte di Mezzo, by the people who lived on the north bank of the river and those on the south, nor were the country folk excluded; and Mr. Heywood tells us that it was no uncommon sight a quarter of a century ago "to see hanging above the doorway of a contadino's house the targone [or shield] with which his sires played at Ponte."[69] The city and countryside being thus divided into two camps, as it were, each chose an army, that was divided into six squadre of from thirty to sixty soldati. The squadre of the north were, Santa Maria with a banner of blue and white; San Michele, whose colours were white and red; the Calci, white and green and gold; Calcesana, yellow and black; the Mattaccini, white, blue, and peach-blossom; the Satiri, red and black. The southern squadre were called S. Antonio, whose banner was of flame colour, on which was a pig; S. Martino, with a banner of white, black, and red; San Marco, with a banner of white and yellow with a winged lion, and under its feet was the gospel, on which was written Pax tibi Marce; the Leoni, with a banner of black and white; the Dragoni, with a banner of green and white; the Delfini, with a banner of blue and yellow. All these banners were of silk, and very large.[70]

Originally the game was played on St. Anthony's day, the 17th of January; later, this first game came to be a sort of trial match, in which the players were chosen for the Battaglia generale, which took place on some later date agreed upon by both parties. Thus, I suppose, if any noble visited Pisa, the Battaglia generale would be fought in his honour.

The challenge of the side defeated at the last contest having been received, a council of war was held in both camps, and permission being given by the authorities, on that evening, the city was illuminated. The great procession (the squadre in each camp, in the order in which I have named them) took place on the day of battle, each army keeping to its own side of Arno. Then the Piazza del Ponte for the northern army, the Piazza de' Bianchi for the southern, were enclosed with palisades to form the camps, and the battle began.

In order to save the soldato from hurt, his head was covered with a falzata of cotton, and guarded by an iron casque with a barred vizor.[71] The body was also swathed in cotton or a doublet of leather, over which iron armour was worn. The arms, too, were covered with quilted leather and the hands in gauntlets, and the legs were protected with gaiters, while round the neck a quilted collar was tied to save the collar bone. The only weapon allowed was the targone, a shield of wood curved at the top, and almost but not quite pointed at the foot. At the back of this were two handles, which were gripped by both hands, and the blow delivered with the smaller end of the shield. When the press of the fight was not very great, no doubt this shield was used as a club. These targoni were decorated with mottoes or a device, as we may see from these now in the Museo; they were evidently even heirlooms in the family which had the honour to see one of its members chosen for the Battaglia.

Four comandanti or captains on each side entered the battle itself. Two of these on each side stood on the parapet of the bridge directing their men. The two northerners wore a scarlet uniform with white facings, the two southerners a green uniform with white facings. Two other comandanti in each army stood on the ground. The two first were unarmed, and were not allowed to interfere with the fight, but the two on the ground, who were allowed two adjutants, could scarcely have been prevented from giving or receiving blows.

Before the fight began, the banner of Pisa, a silver cross on a red ground, floated from a staff in the middle of the bridge. This was lowered across the bridge to divide the two armies; and at the close of the fight it was so lowered again, and, according as either side was in the enemy's territory, so the victory went.

When the battle was over, the victorious side made procession through the city. If the north had won, all Pisa north of Arno was alight with bonfires, the houses were decorated, everyone was in the streets; while south of Arno the city was in darkness, the people in their houses, not a dog lurked without. Then followed, after a few days, the great trionfo of the victors.

"The procession was headed," says Mr. Heywood, "by two trumpeters on horseback, followed by a band of horsemen clad in military costumes, and by war-cars full of arms and banners of the vanquished. Thereafter came certain soldiers on foot with their hands bound, to represent prisoners taken in the battle; then more trumpeters and drummers; and then the triumphal chariot, drawn by four or six horses richly draped and adorned with emblems and mottoes. It was accompanied and escorted by knights and gentlemen on horseback. The noble ladies of the city followed in their carriages, and behind them thronged an infinite people (infinito popolo) scattering broadcast various poetical compositions, and singing with sweet melodies in the previously appointed places, the glories of the victory won, making procession through the city until night." After dark, bonfires were lighted. On high above the triumphal car was set some allegorical figure, such as Valour, Victory, or Fame.[72]

The last Giuoco del Ponte was fought in 1807. "Certain pastimes," says Signor Tribolati, "are intimately connected with certain institutions and beliefs; and when the latter cease to exist, the former also perish with them. The Giuoco del Ponte was a relic of popular chivalry, one of the innumerable knightly games which adorned the simple, artistic, warlike life of the hundred Republics of Italy.... What have we to do with the arms and banners of the tourneys? At most we may rub the cobwebs away and shake off the dust and lay them aside in a museum."[73]

To come out of the Museo, that graveyard of dead beauty, of forgotten enthusiasms, into the quiet, deserted Piazza di S. Francesco, where the summer sleeps ever in the sun and no footstep save a foreigner's ever seems to pass, is to fall from one dream into another, not less mysterious and full of beauty. How quiet now is this old city that once rang with the shouts of the victors home from some sea fight, or returned from the Giuoco. Only, as you pass along Via S. Francesco and turn into Piazza di S. Paolo, the children gather about you, reminding you that in Italy even the oldest places—S. Paolo al Orto, for instance, with its beautiful old tower that is now a dwelling—are put to some use, and are really living still like the gods who have taken service with us, perhaps in irony, to console themselves for our treachery in watching our sadness without them.

It is certainly with some such thought as this in his heart the unforgetful traveller will enter S. Pierino, not far from S. Paolo al Orto, at the corner of Via Cavour and Via delle belle Torri. Coming into this old church suddenly out of the sunshine, how dark a place it seems, full of a mysterious melancholy too, a sort of remembrance of change and death, as though some treachery asleep in our hearts had awakened on the threshold and accused us. The crypt has long been used as a charnel house, the guide-book tells you, but maybe it is not any memory of the unremembered and countless dead that has stirred in your heart, but some stranger impulse urging you to a dislike of the darkness, that dim mysterious light that is part of the north and has nothing to do with Italy. How full of twilight it is, yet once in this place a temple to Apollo stood, full of the sun, almost within sound of the sea, when, we know not how,[74] the Pisans received news of Jesus Christ, and, forgetting Apollo, gave his temple to St. Peter. Then in 1072 they pulled down that old "house of idols,"[75] and built this church, calling it S. Pietro in Vincoli, perhaps because of the presence of the old gods, perhaps because it was so dark—who knows; and on the 30th of August 1119, Archbishop Pietro, he who brought the cross of silver from Rome and put in it the banner of the city and led Pisa to victory in Majorca, solemnly consecrated it.

I was thinking somewhat in this fashion, resting on a bench in that cool twilight place, where the sounds of life come from very far off, when out of the darkness an old man crept toward me; he seemed as old as the church itself. "The Signore would see the church," he asked; "who can the Signore wish for better than myself?—it is my own church, I am its guardian." Truly he was very old: if he were Apollo, long and evil had been his days; if he were St. Peter, indeed he was very like.

It was a long story of buried treasure, buried or lost I know not which, that he tried to tell me, while he pointed to the beautiful pavement, or caressed the old fading pillars, leading me up the broken steps into the greater darkness of the nave, where he showed me one of the most ancient pictures in Pisa, a great, mournful, and grievous crucifix, a colossal Christ, His feet nailed separately to the cross, His body tortured and emaciated, a hideous mask of death;—here in the temple of Apollo. "It is here," said he, smiling, "that Paganism and Christianity were married; and in the temple lie the dead, and in the church the living pray, as you see, Signore, beside these old pillars that were not built for any Christian house. Such is the splendour and antiquity of our city. For, as you know, doubtless, the Duomo itself is built on the foundations of Nero's Palace,[76] S. Andrea (not far away) was once a temple of Venus, in S. Niccola we besought Ceres, and in S. Michele called on Mars; such, Signore, is the splendour and glory of our city...."

Evening had come when I found myself again on the Lung' Arno, in a world neither Pagan nor Christian, in which I am a stranger.

* * * * *

Leaving behind you Ponte di Mezzo and the Lung' Arno, quasi a modo d'un archo di balestro,[77] you come into the Borgo, under the low arches of the old houses that make a covered way. This is perhaps the oldest part of Pisa. Almost at once on your right you pass S. Michele in Borgo, built probably just before his death by Fra Guglielmo, that disciple of Niccolo Pisano. Fra Guglielmo died in the convent of S. Caterina, for he had been fifty-seven years in the Dominican Order. Tronci tells us that, being one day in Bologna, where he had gone with Niccolo his master to make a tomb for S. Domenico, when the old tomb was opened he secretly took a bone and hid it, and without saying anything presently set out for Pisa. Arrived there, he placed the relic under the table of the altar of S. Maria Maddalena, and was seen often by the brethren praying there,—they knew not why. But at his death he revealed his pious theft, and showed the bone in its place, and it was guarded and shown to the people.

But S. Michele in Borgo is older than Fra Guglielmo, who died about the year 1313. Certainly the crypt is ancient as are the pillars. A certain Buono is said to have built a church here in 990; but little, however, now remaining can be of that date, the church as a whole being of about 1312, and, as I have said, probably the last work of Fra Guglielmo.

Passing up the Borgo, here and there we may see signs of ancient Pisa in the sunken pillars, for instance, before a house in a street on the left, Via del Monte, following which we come into the most beautiful Piazza in Pisa, perhaps in Italy, Piazza dei Cavalieri, once the Piazza dei Anziani.

On the right is the Church of the Knights of St. Stephen, Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri; next to it is the beautiful palace of the Anziani, later the Palazzo Conventuale dei Cavalieri, rebuilt by Vasari. Almost opposite this is a palace under which the road passes, built to the shape of the Piazza; it marks the spot where the Tower of Hunger once stood, where the eagles of the Republic were housed, and where Conte Ugolino della Gherardesca with his sons and nephews was starved to death by Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini. Opposite to this is the marble Palazzo del Consiglio, also belonging to the Order of St. Stephen.

The Knights of St. Stephen, to whom, indeed, the whole Piazza seems to be devoted, were a religious and military Order founded by Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who sits on horseback in front of the beautiful steps of the Conventuale. The object of the Order was to harry the Moorish pirates of the Mediterranean, to redeem their captives, and to convert these Moors to Christianity; nor were they wanting in war, for they fought at Lepanto. Cosimo placed the Order under the protection of St. Stephen, because he had gained his greatest victory on that saint's day. The Knights seem to have been of two kinds: the religious, who took three major vows and lived in the Conventuale under the rule of St. Benedict, and served the Church of S. Stefano; and the military, who might not only hold property but marry. Their cross is very like the cross of Pisa, but red, while that is white.

In S. Stefano there is little to see, a few old banners, a series of bad frescoes, and a bust of S. Lussorius by Donatello, perhaps,—at least, that sculptor was working for eighteen months in the city. Before the sixteenth century this Piazza must have been very different from what it is to-day. Where S. Stefano stands now S. Sebastiano stood, that church where the Anziani met so often to decide peace or war.[78] Close by was the palace of the Podesta, while beyond the Palazzo Anziani rose the Torre delle Sette Vie, Torre Gualandi, Torre della Fame, for it bore all three names; only, the last came to it after the hideous crime of Ruggiero. If we cross the Piazza opposite the Palazzo Conventuale, and pass into Via S. Sisto, we come to the church of that saint, where also the Grand Council used to meet. It was founded to commemorate the great victories that came to Pisa on that day. Those antique columns are the spoil of war, as Tronci tells us.[79] Returning to the Piazza, and leaving it by Via S. Frediano, we soon come to the church of that saint, with its lovely and spacious nave and antique columns. A little farther on is the University, La Sapienza, founded by Conte Fazio della Gherardesca in 1338. In that year Conte Fazio enlarged the Piazza degli Anziani, so that la nobilita should be able to walk there more readily; and to render the city more honourable, with the consent of the Anziani and all the Senate, he founded a university, to lead the greatest doctors to lecture there; and to establish the Theatre of the Schools he sent ambassadors in the name of the Republic to Pope Benedict for his authorisation. Needless to say, this was given and in 1340 we find Messer Bartolo da Sassoferrato and Messer Guido da Prato, Doctor of Physics, lecturing on "Chirugia."[80] In 1589, Galileo was Professor of Mathematics here. The present building dates from 1493. Close by, between the University and the Lung' Arno, are the remains of an old gate of the city, Porta Aurea, and some remnants of towers.

Crossing Arno by Ponte Solferino, and turning along the Lung' Arno Gambacorti to the left, we come suddenly upon a great Piazza in which an old and splendid church is hidden away. And just as the Duomo, the great church of the northern part of the city, is set just within the walls far away from the Borgo, so here, in the southern part of Pisa, S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno is abandoned by the riverside on the verge of the country, for the fields are at its threshold. And indeed, this desolate church is really older than the Duomo, for, as some say, it served as the Great Church of Pisa while the Cathedral was building. Founded, as the Pisans assert, by Charlemagne in 805, it was rather the model of the Duomo, if this be true, than, as is generally supposed, a copy of it. Bare for the most part and empty, its original beauty and simplicity still remain to it; nor should any who find it omit to pass into the priest's house, to see the old Baptistery now in the hands of Benedictine nuns.

On our way back to Pisa by the Lung' Arno Gambacorti, we may look always with new joy at the Torre Guelfa, almost all that is left of the great arsenal built in 1200. And then you will not pass without entering, it may be, S. Maria della Spina, where of old the huntsmen used to hear Mass at dawn before going about their occasions.

And many another church in Pisa is devout and beautiful. S. Sepolcro, which Diotisalvi made, he who built the Baptistery, a church of the Knights Templars below the level of the way; S. Martino too, both in Chinseca, that part of the city named after her who gave the alarm nearly a thousand years ago when the Saracen sails hove in sight.—Ah, do not be in a hurry to leave Pisa for any other city. Let us think of old things for a little, and be quiet. It may be we shall never see that line of hills again—Monti Pisani; it were better to look at them a little carefully. A little while before to-day the most precious of our dreams was not so lovely as that spur of the Apennines.


[17] Muratori, Annali ad ann.: He quotes from Annali Pisani (see tom. vi., Rer. Ital. Scrip): "Fecerunt bellum Pisani cum Lucensibus in Aqua longa, et vicerunt illos." See Arch. St. It. VI. ii. p. 4. Cron. Pis. ad annum.

[18] Muratori, Annali ad ann. 1050: "et Pisa fuit firmata de tota Sardinia a Romana sede."—Ann. Pis., R.I.S., tom. vi.

[19] Tronci, Annali Pisani, Livorno, 1682, p. 21.

[20] Ibid. p. 22.

[21] Muratori (Annali ad ann.) says Pope Alexander visited in this year S. Martino the Duomo of Lucca. Ad ann. 1118 he suggests 1092 for the foundation of the Duomo of Pisa.

[22] Thus Tronci; but Volpe, Studi sulle Istituzioni Comunali a Pisa, p. 6, tells us that these quarters did not exist till much later,—till after 1164, when the system of division by porte e base was abandoned for division by quartieri. Tronci, later, says that the city was unwalled (p. 38). But even in the eleventh century Pisa was a walled city; the first walls included only the Quartiere di Mezzo; and in those days the city proper, the walled part, was called "Populus Pisanus," while the suburbs were called Cinthicanus, Foriportensis, and de Burgis. Cf. Arch. St. It. iii. vol. VIII. p. 5. Muratori, Dissertazioni, 30, "De Mercat." says that in the tenth century a part of the city was called Kinzic; cf. Fanucci, St. dei Tre celebri Popoli Maritt. I. 96. Kinzic is Arabic, and means magazzinaggi.

[23] Tronci, op. cit. p. 38.

[24] Tronci, op. cit. p. 60.

[25] It was from Amalfi that they brought home the Pandects.

[26] The first Podesta of the city was Conte Tedicis della Gherardesca.

[27] Pisa was perhaps influenced, too, in her choice of the Ghibelline side by the interference of the Papacy against her in Corsica. While, if Pisa was Ghibelline, Lucca, of course, was Guelph.

[28] Cf. G. Villani, op. cit. lib. vii. cap. ii., "La cagione perche si comincio la guerra da' Fiorentini a' Pisani," and Villari, History of Florence (Eng. ed. 1902), p. 176.

[29] This seems to give the lie to the accusation of treachery, which said that he gave the signal for flight at Meloria; but in fact it does not, for Pisa elected Ugolino for reasons, in the hope of conciliating Florence; cf. Villari, op. cit. p. 284.

[30] He knew them to be Ghibellines.

[31] It was also called la muda. It seems hardly necessary to refer the reader to Dante, Inferno, xxxiii. 1-90. This tower (now to be called the Tower of Hunger) was the mew of the eagles. For even as the Romans kept wolves on the Capitol, so the Pisans kept eagles, the Florentines lions, the Sienese a wolf. See Villani, bk. vii. 128. Heywood, Palio and Ponte, p. 13, note 2.

[32] Florence here means the League, to wit, Prato, Pistoja, Siena even, and all the allies, including the Guelphs of Romagna, who were fighting Arezzo under Archb. Uberti, and Pisa under Archb. Ruggieri.

[33] Yet in 1290 Genoa seized Porto Pisano: "Furono allora disfatte le torri ... il fanale e tutte."

[34] Tronci, op. cit. 269-271. For the Palio,—the name of the race and the prize of victory, a piece of silk not too much unlike the banners given at a modern battle of Flowers,—see Heywood, Palio and Ponte, 1904, p. 12.

[35] The girdle was made of silver and jewels and silk to represent the girdle of the B.V.M. It encircled the Duomo—a most splendid and unique thing, only possible, I think, in Pisa. No parsimonious Florentine could have imagined it.

[36] Now in the Museo, room 1. See page 119.

[37] Tronci, op. cit. 366.

[38] See Tronci, op. cit. 304.

[39] They imprisoned him in Lucca.

[40] Tronci, op. cit. p. 404.

[41] Cronaca Sanese in Muratori, xv. 177.

[42] Heywood, Palio and Ponte, p. 22.

[43] Tronci, op. cit. 412.

[44] A pleasing story of how these citizens found Agnello's house in darkness and all sleeping within, of his awakened maid-servant and frightened wife, is told in Marangoni, Cron. di Pisa. See Sismondi, ed. Boulting (1906), p. 401.

[45] See Sismondi, op. cit. p. 403.

[46] Cf. Sismondi, op. cit. p. 557.

[47] Tronci, op. cit. p. 18.

[48] Tronci, op. cit. p. 453.

[49] The print is dated 1634.

[50] For all things concerning this game and the Palio, see Heywood, Palio and Ponte.

[51] Villani, op. cit. Bk. iv. 2. The Badia, like that of Firenze, seems rather to have been founded by Ugo's mother, Countess Willa.

[52] Tronci, op. cit. p. 9.

[53] It may be as well to explain here that the Pisan Calendar differed not only from our own but from that of other cities of Tuscany. The Pisans reckoned from the Incarnation. The year began, therefore, on 25th March: so did the Florentine and the Sienese year, but they reckoned from a year after the Incarnation. The Aretines, Pistoiese, and Cortonese followed the Pisans.

[54] Tronci, op. cit. p. 21.

[55] 104 yards long by 35-1/2 yards wide.

[56] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, History of Painting in Italy, new edition, 1903, vol. i. pp. 185, 186.

[57] There is a miracle picture, S. Maria sotto gli Orcagni in the Duomo. Mr. Carmichael, in his book, In Tuscany, gives a full account of this picture. See also my Italy and the Italians, pp. 117-120.

[58] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, op. cit. vol. i. p. 103.

[59] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, op. cit. vol. i. p. 109.

[60] See below, p. 134.

[61] See On the Old Road through France to Florence (Murray, 1904), in which Mr. Carmichael wrote the Italian part. He has much pleasant information about the bells of Pisa, p. 223.

[62] Was it here, or in the Ospedale dei Trovatelli close to S. Michele in Borgo? cf. Tronci, p. 179.

[63] See p. 95.

[64] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, op. cit, vol. i. p. 146, note.

[65] See Pisa. da I.B. Supino, 1905, p. 43.

[66] See p. 91.

[67] Mr. Carmichael (On the Old Road through France to Florence, p. 224) says it must have been worth L30,000 of our money.

[68] Let me refer the reader again to Mr. William Heywood's exhaustive work on Italian mediaeval games, Palio and Ponte, Methuen, 1904.

[69] See also F. Tribolati, Il Gioco del Ponte, Firenze, 1877, p. 5.

[70] Many of these banners are hung in the great Salone—the first room you enter on the first floor of the Museo.

[71] All the coverings and armour are illustrated in the Oplomachia Pisana of Camillo Borghi. (Lucca, 1713.)

[72] There is a rich literature of poems and Relazioni, etc., on the Gioco del Ponte.

[73] F. Tribolati, Il Gioco del Ponte, Firenze, 1877. See also Heywood, op. cit. p. 136.

[74] Yet it is said that St. Peter himself came to Pisa from Antioch, and founded the Church of S. Pietro in Grado, and consecrated Pierino first bishop of Pisa; cf. Tronci, op. cit. p. 3.

[75] Tronci, op. cit. p. 23.

[76] He said palace, and palace it may be, for the baths are a quarter of a mile away.

[77] So a nineteenth-century writer calls it. Leopardi, too, cannot find words enough to express its beauty: "Questo Lung' Arno e uno spetaccolo cosi bello cosi ampio cosi magnifico," etc.

[78] It was in S. Sebastiano that Ruggiero condemned Count Ugolino and his sons.

[79] Tronci, op. cit. p. 30.

[80] Tronci, op. cit. p. 343.


It was only after many days spent in the Pineta, those pinewoods that go down to the sea at Gombo, where the silent, deserted shore, strewn with sea-shells and whispering with grass, stretches far away to the Carrara hills, that very early one morning I set out for Livorno, that port which has taken the place of the old Porto Pisano,[82] so famous through the world of old. Leaving Pisa by the Porta a Mare, I soon came to S. Pietro a Grado, a lonely church among the marshes, that once, as I suppose, stood on the seashore. It was here St. Peter, swept out of his course by a storm on his way from Antioch, came ashore before setting out again for Naples, entering Italy first, then, on the shores of Etruria. So the tale goes; but the present church seems to be a building of the twelfth century. Its simple beauty, which the seawind and the sun have kissed for seven hundred years, seems to give character to the whole plain, so ample and green, beyond the wont of Italy; but, indeed, here we are on the threshold of the Maremma, that beautiful, wild, deserted country that man has not yet reclaimed from Death, where the summer is still and treacherous in its loveliness, where in winter for a little while the herdsmen come down with their cattle from the Garfagnana, and the hills musical with love songs. On the threshold of that treacherous summer, as it were, this lonely church stands on guard. Within, she is beautiful, in the old manner, splendid with antique pillars caught about now with iron; but it is perhaps the frescoes, that have faded on the walls till they are scarcely more than the shadows of a thousand forgotten sunsets, that you will care for most. They are the work of Giunta Pisano, or if, indeed, they are not his they are of his school,—a school already decadent, splendid with the beauty that has looked on death and can never be quite sane again. No one, I think, can ever deny the beauty of Giunta's work; it is full of a strange subtilty that is ready to deny life over and over again. He is concerned not with life, but chiefly with religion, and with certain bitter yet altogether lovely colours which evoke for him, and for us too, if we will lend ourselves to their influence, all the misery and pessimism of the end of the Middle Age, its restlessness and ennui, that find consolation only in the memory of the grotesque frailty of the body which one day Jesus will raise up. All the anarchy and discontent of our own time seems to me to be expressed in such work as this, in which ugliness, as we might say, has as much right as beauty. It is, I think, the mistake of much popular criticism in our time to assert that these "primitive" painters were beginners, and could not achieve what they wished. They were not beginners, rather they were the most subtle artists of a convention—and all art is a convention—that was about to die. If one can see their work aright, it is beautiful; but it has lost touch with life, or is a mere satirical comment upon it, that Giotto, with his simplicity, his eager delight in natural things and in man, will supersede and banish. In him, Europe seems to shake off the art and fatality of the East, under whose shadow Christianity had grown up, to be altogether transformed and humanised by Rome, when she at the head really of humanism and art should once more give to the world the thoughts and life of another people full of joy and temperance—things so hard for the Christian to understand. And it is really with such a painter as Giunta Pisano that Christian art pure and simple comes to end. Some divinity altogether different has touched those who came after: Giotto, who is enamoured of life which the Christian must deny; Angelico, whose world is full of a music that is about to become pagan; Botticelli, who has mingled the tears of Mary with the salt of the sea, and has seen a new star in heaven, and proclaimed the birth not of the Nazarene, but the Cyprian.

But it is not such thoughts as these you will find in Livorno, one of the busiest towns in Italy, full of modern business life; material in the manner of the Latin people that by reason of some inherent purity of heart never becomes sordid in our fashion.

"There is absolutely nothing to see in Leghorn," says Mr. Hare. Well, but that depends on what you seek, does it not? If you would see a Tuscan city that is absolutely free from the tourist, I think you must go to Livorno. It is true, works of art are not many there; but the statue of Grand Duke Ferdinand, with four Moors in bronze chained to his feet, a work of Piero Jacopo Tacca, made in 1617-1625, is something; though I confess those chained robbers at the feet of a petty tyrant who was as great a robber, he and his forebears, as any among them, are in this age of sentimental liberalism, from which who can escape, a little disconcerting. Ferdinand has his best monument in the city itself, which he founded to take the place of Porto Pisano, that in the course of centuries had silted up. In order to populate the new port, he proclaimed there a religious liberty he denied to his Duchy at large. His policy was splendidly successful. Every sort of outcast made Livorno his home—especially the Jews, for whom Ferdinando had a great respect; but there were there Greeks also, and nuovi christiani, Moors converted to Christianity. These last, I think, indeed, must have been worth seeing; for no doubt Ferdinand's politic grant of religious liberty did not include Moors who had not been "converted to Christianity."

But the great days of Livorno are over; though who may say if a new prosperity does not await her in the near future, she is so busy a place. Livorno la cara, they call her, and no doubt of old she endeared herself to her outcasts. To-day, however, it is to the Italian summer visitor that she is dear. There he comes for sea-bathing, and it is difficult to imagine a more delightful seaside. For you may live on the hills and yet have the sea. Beyond Livorno rises the first high ground of the Maremma, Montenero, holy long ago with its marvellous picture of the Madonna, which, as I know, still works wonders. Here Byron lived, and not far away Shelley wrote the principal part of The Cenci.

Passing out by tramway by the Porta Maremmana, you come to Byron's villa, almost at the foot of the hills, on a sloping ground on your right. Entering by the great iron gates of what looks like a neglected park, you climb by a stony road up to the great villa itself, among the broken statues and the stone pines, where is one of the most beautiful views of the Pisan country and seashore, with the islands of Gorgona, Capraja, Elba, and Corsica in the distance. Villa Dupoy, as it was called in Byron's day, is now in the summer months used as a girls' school: and, indeed, it would be easy to house a regiment in its vast rooms, where here and there a seventeenth century fresco is still gorgeous on the walls, and the mirrors are dim with age. From here the walk up to Our Lady of Montenero is delightful; and once there, on the hills above the church, the rolling downs towards Maremma lie before you without a single habitation, almost without a road, a country of heath and fierce rock, desolate and silent, splendid with the wind and the sun.

The Church of Madonna lies just under the crest of the hill, and is even to-day a place of many pilgrimages: for the whole place is strewn and hung with thank-offerings, silver hearts, shoes, crutches, and I know not what else, among the pathetic pictures of her kindly works. The picture itself, loaded now with jewellery, is apparently a work of the thirteenth century; but it is said to have been miraculously brought hither from Negroponte. It was found at Ardenza close by, by a shepherd, who carried it to Montenero, where, as I suppose, he lived; but just before he won the top of the hill it grew so heavy he had to set it down. So the peasants built a shrine for it; and the affair getting known, the Church inquired into it, with the result that certainly by the fifteenth century the shrine was in charge of a Religious Order; to-day the monks of the Vallombrosan Benedictines serve the church.

One returns always, I think, with regret from Montenero to Livorno; yet, after all, not with more sadness than that which always accompanies us in returning from the country to any city, howsoever fair and lovely. God made the country; man made the town; and though in Italy both God and man have laboured with joy and done better here than anywhere else in the world, who would not leave the loveliest picture to look once more on the sky, or neglect the sweetest music if he might always hear the sea, or give up praising a statue, if he might always look on his beloved? So it is in Italy, where all the cities are fair; flowers they are among the flowers; yet any Tuscan rose is fairer far than ever Pisa was, and the lilies of Madonna in the gardens of Settignano are more lovely than the City of Flowers: come, then, let us leave the city for the wayside, for the sun and the dust and the hills, the flowers beside the river, the villages among the flowers. For if you love Italy you will follow the road.


[81] Livorno, in the barbarian dialect of the Genovesi, Ligorno; and hence our word Leghorn. It is excusable that we should have taken St. George from Genoa, but not that we should have stolen her dialect also.

[82] Perhaps, but Bocca d'Arno, that delicious place, is far and far to-day from Livorno.


The road from Pisa to Florence, out of the Porta Fiorentina, to-day the greatest gate of the city, passes at first across the Pisan plain, beside Arno though not following it in its wayward and winding course, to Cascina at the foot of those hills behind which Lucca is hidden away: Monti Pisani

"Perche i Pisani veder Lucca non ponno."

And unlike the way through the Pineta to the sea, the road, so often trodden by the victorious armies of Florence, is desolate and sombre, while beside the way to-day a disused tramway leads to Calci in the hills. On either side of this road, so deep in dust, are meadows lined with bulrushes, while there lies a village, here a lonely church. It is indeed a rather sombre world of half-reclaimed marshland that Pisa thus broods over, in which the only landmarks are the far-away hills, the smoke of a village not so far away, or the tower of a church rising among these fields so strangely green. For Pisa herself is soon lost in the vagueness of a world thus delicately touched by sun and cloud, and seemingly so full of ruinous or deserted things like the beautiful great Church of Settimo, whose tower you may see far away in the golden summer weather standing quite alone in a curve of the river; so that you leave the highway and following a little by-road come upon Pieve di S. Cassiano, a basilica in the ancient Pisan manner set among the trees in a shady place, and over the three doors of the facade you find the beautiful work of Biduino da Pisa, as it is said, sculptures in relief of the resurrection of Lazarus, the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, a fight of dragons, and certain subjects from the Bestiaries.

Another lonely church, set, not at the end of a byway by the river, but on the highroad itself, greets you as you enter Cascina. It is the Chiesa della Madonna dell' Acqua, rebuilt in the eighteenth century. In this wide plain there are many churches, some of them of a great antiquity, as S. Jacopo at Zambra and S. Lorenzo alle Corti, and in the hills you may find a place so wonderful as the Certosa di Calci, a monastery founded in 1366, but altered and spoiled in the seventeenth century, and the marvellous Church of S. Giovanni there. Cascina itself is as it were the image of this wide flat country between the hills and the Maremma, where the sun has so much influence and the shadows of the clouds drift over the fields all day long, and the mist shrouds the evening in blue and silver. Desolate and sober enough on a day of rain, when the sun shines this gaunt outpost of Pisa, for it is little more, is as gay as a flower by the wayside. The road runs through it, giving it its one long and almost straight street, while behind the poor houses that have so little to boast of, lies a beautiful old Piazza, with a great palace seemingly deserted on one side and an old tower and a church with a beautiful facade on another. Always a prize of the enemy, Cascina in the Pisan wars fell to Lucca, to the Guelph League, and to Florence. Its old walls, battered long ago, still remain to it, so that from afar, from the Pisan hills, for instance, it looks more picturesque than in fact it proves to be.

The high road, Via Pisana, as it is still called, though, indeed, it was more often the way of the Florentines, sometimes almost deserted, sometimes noisy with peasants returning from market, finds the river again at Cascina only to lose it, however, till after a walk of some five miles you come to Pontedera, a wild and miserable place, full of poor and rebellious people, who eye you with suspicion and a sort of envy. Yet in spite of the proclamation of their wretchedness, I think of them now in London, as fortunate. At least upon them the sun will surely shine in the morning, the unsullied infinite night will fall; while for us there is no sun, and in the night the many are too unhappy to remember even that. There in Pontedera they preach their socialism, and none is too miserable to listen; these poor folk have been told they are unhappy, and, indeed, Pontedera is not beautiful. Yet on a market day you may see the whole place transformed. It has an aspect of joy that lights up the dreary street. All day on Friday you may watch them at their little stalls, which litter Via Pisana and make it impassable. You might think you were at a fair, but that a fair in England, at any rate, is not so gay. All along the highway that runs through the town in front of the shops and the inn you see the stalls of the crockery merchants, of the dealers in lace and stuffs, of those who sell macaroni and pasti, and of those who sell mighty umbrellas. And it is then, I think, that Pontedera is at her best; life which ever contrives in Italy to keep something of a gay sanity, disposing for that day at least of the surliness of this people, who are very poor, and far from any great city.

As for me, I left Pontedera with all speed, being intent on Vico Pisano, a fortress built by Filippo Brunellesco for the Republic of Florence, after the fall of the old Pisan Rocca of Verruca, on the hill-top. There, too, if we may believe Villani,[83] the Marchese Ugo founded a monastery. To-day on Monte della Verruca there is nothing remaining of the Rocca, and the monastery is a heap of stones; but in Vico Pisano the fortifications and towers of Brunellesco still stand, battered though they be,—gaunt and bitter towers, their battlements broken, the walls that the engines of old time have battered, hung now with ivy, over which, all silver in the wind, the ancient olive leans.

Here, where the creeping ivy has hidden the old wounds, and the oleanders speak of the living, and the lilies remind us of the dead, let us, too, make peace in our hearts and suffer no more bitterness for the fallen, nor think hardly of the victor. Florence, too, in her turn suffered slavery and oblivion; and from the same cause as her own victims, because she would not be at peace. If Pisa fell, it was just and right; for that she was Ghibelline, and would not make one with her sisters. For this Siena was lopped like a lily on her hills, and Lucca pruned like her own olive trees, and Pistoia gathered in the plain. This Florence stood for the Guelph cause and for the future, yet she too in her turn failed in love, and great though she was, she too was not great enough. One of her sons, seeing her power, dreamed of the unity of Italy, and for this cause followed Cesare Borgia; but she could not compass it, and so fell at last as Pisa fell, as Siena fell, as all must fall who will not be at one. How beautiful these old towers of Vico Pisano look now among the flowers, yet once they were cruel enough: men defended them and thought nothing of their beauty, and time has spoiled them of defence and left only their beauty to be remembered. For the ancients of Pisa have met for the last time; the signory of Florence plots no more; no more will any Emperor with the pride of a barbarian, the mien of a beggar or a thief, cross the Alps, or such an one as Hawkwood was sell his prowess for a bag of silver; and if the ships of war shall ever put out from Genoa, they will be the ships of Italy. For she who slept so long has awakened at last, and around her as she stands on the Capitol, there cluster full of the ancient Latin beauty that can never die, the beautiful cities of the sea, the plain, and the mountain, who have lost life for her sake, to find it in her.

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