Pisa is a city in Western Tuscany, Italy, famous for its leaning tower. A popular tourist venue and an university center, Pisa, which counts more than 87,500 inhabitants, is one of the most important cities of Tuscany.
The exact origins of the city are unknown: different theories consider Pisa to have been founded by the Celts, the Greek, the Trojans, or the Etruscans. What is certain is that the city is very ancient, and even the Romans considered it to be so. In the Roman era, it served as an important military port in the Mediterranean; after the fall of the Roman Empire the city slowly grew in size and importance, being easily defendable because of its geography. With the Crusades, the city became a very wealthy and powerful naval power. It is in these period, the cathedral, the famous leaning tower, and the baptistery were built with the wealth gained from the plunder of Muslim and Byzantine lands, and from commerce. After a crippling naval defeat against Genova at the Battle of Meloria (1284), the city started a steady decline and never regained its former power. In 1406, Pisa was conquered by Florence. In the 16th century, no longer having any military or political power, Pisa became an important cultural and scientific centre.
Mostly known for its leaning tower, Pisa has many more wonderful historical monuments and buildings dating back many hundreds of years and much of Pisa has retained its medieval appearance. Pisa is also known for its excellent University, which was established in 1343 and has become one of Italy's top institutes of higher learning.