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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


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Palazzo della Carovana

See all 1,727 Properties near Palazzo della Carovana
Hotel Bologna ¥8,145
Hotel Bologna

Hotel Bologna

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

    Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is steps from Mezzogiorno and Leaning Tower. Pisa Royal Palace and Knight's Square are also within 15 minutes. Pisa Central Station is 8 minutes by foot and Pisa San Rossore Station is 25 minutes.

    NH Pisa ¥7,237
    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, Pisa Royal Palace, and Leaning Tower. National Museum of San Matteo and Knight's Square are also within 1 mi (2 km). Pisa Central Station is only a 1-minute walk.

      Grand Hotel Bonanno ¥6,773
      Grand Hotel Bonanno

      Grand Hotel Bonanno

      Via Carlo Francesco Gabba, 17, Pisa, PI
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Leaning Tower, Piazza dei Miracoli, and Pisa Baptistry. Pisa Royal Palace and Cathedral of Pisa are also within 15 minutes. Pisa San Rossore Station is 7 minutes by foot and Pisa Central Station is 22 minutes.

        Grand Hotel Duomo ¥9,832
        Grand Hotel Duomo

        Grand Hotel Duomo

        Via Santa Maria 94, Pisa, PI
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is steps from University Hospital of Santa Chiara, Leaning Tower, and Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. Cathedral of Pisa and Piazza dei Miracoli are also within 5 minutes. Pisa San Rossore Station is 13 minutes by foot and Pisa Central Station is 19 minutes.

          Hotel Relais Dell Orologio ¥9,680
          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 steps from Torre dei Gualandi, Leaning Tower, and Knight's Square. Museo dell'Opera 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.

            Hotel La Pace ¥4,801
            Hotel La Pace

            Hotel La Pace

            Viale Gramsci 14 - Galleria B, Pisa, PI
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Mezzogiorno, Pisa Royal Palace, and Leaning Tower. National Museum of San Matteo and Knight's Square are also within 1 mi (2 km). Pisa Central Station is only a 2-minute walk and Pisa San Rossore Station is 29 minutes.

              Royal Victoria Hotel ¥5,979
              Royal Victoria Hotel

              Royal Victoria Hotel

              Lungarno Pacinotti 12, Pisa, PI
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is steps from Palazzo Agostini and Leaning Tower. Pisa Royal Palace and Knight's Square are also within 5 minutes. Pisa Central Station is 12 minutes by foot and Pisa San Rossore Station is 22 minutes.

                Relais I Miracoli ¥8,817
                Relais I Miracoli

                Relais I Miracoli

                Via Santa Maria 187, Pisa, PI
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Pisa City Centre, this residence is within a 5-minute walk of Cathedral of Pisa and Pisa Baptistry. Pisa San Rossore Station is 11 minutes by foot and Pisa Central Station is 20 minutes.