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Palazzo della Carovana

Home to one of Italy’s finest universities, the former headquarters of Pisa’s order of knights is still the most bustling building on the huge Piazza dei Cavalieri.

Overlooking Pisa’s second-largest square is one of the city’s most notable works of architecture. Designed by the famous Giorgio Vasari and built between 1562 and 1564, the Palazzo della Carovana is the former headquarters of Pisa’s knights. See this remarkable building on one of the city’s many walking tours. 

The palace was named after the training, called la Carovana, undertaken within its walls. The palace is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture. Today, the building remains a center for education, but of a very different kind. Since the mid-19th century the palace has been the premises of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, one of the most highly regarded universities in Italy. 

Join a walking tour of the old city and learn about the knights that studied and resided within the palace and the architecture of Giorgio Vasari and his role in redeveloping the Knight’s Square. Keep an eye out for the detailed sculptures carved into the palace exterior, each depicting one of the six Medici grand dukes. Other decorations include zodiacal symbols and symbolic Italian figures. A large statue of Cosimo I, the first Duke of Tuscany, stands just outside the palace.

As the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa is an operational university, you can only access parts of the building. Climb the twin staircases that lead to the main entrance before moving through the historic halls. While the building has been dramatically restructured to accommodate the university, some of the halls still contain paintings dating back to the 16th century.

The Palazzo della Carovana is located on the Knight’s Square in Pisa’s Santa Maria quarter, which is in the heart of Pisa’s historic district. It can be reached on foot or by bus from the other major tourist attractions. Parking spaces in the area are scarce, but some metered street parking can be found. There is no fee to visit the square or the palace and it can be seen daily, but some parts of the school are not accessible to the public.


Guide to Exploring around Palazzo della Carovana


Best Lodging Options Near Palazzo della Carovana

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NH Pisa ¥8,722
NH Pisa

NH Pisa

Piazza Stazione 2, Pisa, PI
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Mezzogiorno and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 1 mi (2 km). Pisa Central Station is only a 1-minute walk.

    Hotel Bologna ¥6,662
    Hotel Bologna

    Hotel Bologna

    Via Mazzini 57, Pisa, PI
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Mezzogiorno and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 1 mi (2 km). Pisa Central Station is 8 minutes by foot and Pisa San Rossore Station is 25 minutes.

      Hotel Relais Dell Orologio ¥6,755
      Hotel Relais Dell Orologio

      Hotel Relais Dell Orologio

      Via Uguccione della Faggiola 12-14, Pisa, PI
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Pisa City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Torre dei Gualandi, Leaning Tower, and University of Pisa. Piazza del Duomo and Cathedral of Pisa are also within 10 minutes. Pisa San Rossore Station is 15 minutes by foot and Pisa Central Station is 19 minutes.

        Time Out ¥3,941
        Time Out

        Time Out

        Via Santa Maria, 50, Pisa
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Pisa City Centre, this townhouse accommodation is within a 5-minute walk of Torre dei Gualandi and Leaning Tower. Piazza del Duomo and Cathedral of Pisa are also within 10 minutes. Pisa San Rossore Station is 15 minutes by foot and Pisa Central Station is 17 minutes.

          You & Me ¥2,928
          You & Me

          You & Me

          Lungarno Mediceo 40, Pisa, PI
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Pisa City Centre, this guesthouse is within a 10-minute walk of Teatro Verdi and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 1 mi (2 km). Pisa Central Station is 13 minutes by foot and Pisa San Rossore Station is 25 minutes.

            La Lu Cozy Rooms ¥8,331
            La Lu Cozy Rooms

            La Lu Cozy Rooms

            Via Dalmazia 2, Pisa, Provincia di Pisa
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Pisa City Centre, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Scuola Normale Superiore and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 10 minutes. Pisa San Rossore Station is 16 minutes by foot and Pisa Central Station is 17 minutes.

              Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast ¥10,726
              Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast

              Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast

              Piazza Giovan Battista Donati, Pisa, Provincia di Pisa
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Pisa City Centre, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Piazza Garibaldi and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 15 minutes. Pisa Central Station is 14 minutes by foot and Pisa San Rossore Station is 20 minutes.

                Hotel Leonardo ¥5,269
                Hotel Leonardo

                Hotel Leonardo

                Via Tavoleria, 17, Pisa, PI
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Pisa City Centre, this inn is steps from Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 15 minutes. Pisa Central Station is 15 minutes by foot and Pisa San Rossore Station is 20 minutes.