River Arno in Pisa and ancient boat ruins

Many people might not know but Pisa was once a town situated on the coast. Now there is a good 20min drive by bus to the closest beach and the only water access the town has is via the river Arno which goes from the Tirrenia sea all the way to Florence. The remains of ancient boats have been discovered in Pisa and now have been put on display for the public to see. The amazing thing about this attraction is the distance that the boats are positioned (in their original location) from the sea.

The ancient ruins were discovered in December 1998 when the government were expanding the train lines and after excavating they found evidence of a port in perfect condition. The infrastructure works were obviously stopped straight away and archeologists were called in to analyse the remains. The location was closed for a long time before the Tuscan region and Pisa council decided to open it up to the public. Information was collected and put on display which gives any visitors the full explanation of the assumed story behind these boats. Unfortunately these remains were closed again to the public in 2010 and cannot be seen be tourists.


In order to enjoy the antique beauty Pisa has to offer the River Arno is a lovely place to start. Each lungo’Arno which are the stretches of road and footpaths along all sides of the river have some fantastic architecture and churches. One of the best examples of gothic architecture can be found on the edge of the River Arno, Chiesa Della Spina. Situated between the road and the river it is the only antique building right on the water’s edge. This small but characteristic church got its name from the supposed piece of thorn from Jesus’s crown that was laid here in the past. Originally the church was part of bridge that connected the two sides of the river but after this fell it was never reconstructed and the bridge called Ponte di Mezzo (the Middle Bridge) took its place as the main bridge for crossing the Arno in Pisa. The original Ponte di Mezzo was replaced with a more stable modern designed bridge that is able to take cars. You will definitely cross this bridge as you wander through the streets of Pisa.

When the weather is nice one of the nicest things to do in Pisa is to join the locals and wander the banks of the Arno. The many coffee shops will give you a spot to stop and enjoy the river surroundings.

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