Pisa is one of the largest cities in Tuscany. Home of Aeroporto Galileo Galilei, it’s a requisite stop on every trip to Tuscany.

Pisa is also one of the largest and most historic port towns in Italy, due primarily to its location at the junction of two rivers: the Arno (the major Tuscan river) and the Serchio. The city was, for a long time, the only port on the western coast of the peninsula from Genoa to Ostia. Its strategic position for maritime travel made it the choice naval base for many Imperial Roman expeditions.

During the middle ages, Pisa was the main port for trade between Tuscany and Sardinia and the southern coasts of France and Spain. Pisa was later named one of the four main Maritime Republics of Italy. Residents became wealthy by developing trade routes with southern Europe and North Africa.

Pisa is, of course, also home to the Tower. That is, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What’s commonly known as the Leaning Tower is technically the campanile, the bell tower, of the cathedral of the city of Pisa. The building was given to the city by a wealthy widow and her generous bequest of “sixty coins.” In the 16th Century, Galileo, then a professor at the University of Pisa, conducted his gravitational studies by dropping objects from the Leaning Tower. Today, it’s the perfect backdrop for tourists’ photos.