pp 1–11 | Cite as

Walking in the Streets of Pisa to Discover the Stones Used in the Middle Ages

  • Marco LezzeriniEmail author
  • Stefano Pagnotta
  • Stefano Legnaioli
  • Vincenzo Palleschi
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Geoheritage: the foundation for sustainable geotourism


This paper deals with the stones used as building materials in the centre of Pisa during the Middle Age. Most of the stones are quarried from the nearby mountains, Monte Pisano and Monti d’Oltre Serchio, but there are also other ones, coming from Apuan Alps, Elba Island, western Tuscan coast, and from other quarries opened in the Western Mediterranean area. Our goal is to enrich the classic concept of street photography by inserting, in an interpretative context, the analysis and the observation of the geoenvironment in which we are immersed, daily, for the journey home-office, home-school or just for a simple walk. The tools we have are the eyes, the light and an instrument: the camera. Five stops along a city route allow to describe the main types of stones that have been used to construct and ornate the buildings since the 10th and 11th centuries, when Pisa acquired its traditional fame as one of the four historical Maritime Republics of Italy. Monte Pisano marble is the most important stone in the medieval phase of construction of the city of Pisa, often used together with black limestones to give the typical decorative alternate bands, black and white, of the Pisan Romanesque style. Other types of stones were also used, such as Quartzites, Agnano breccia, Panchina, Macigno sandstone as well as Apuan marble, granitoid rocks from Elba Island and Sardinia, and some rocks from ancient quarries of the western Mediterranean area, such as precious marbles from Greece and Turkey.


Building stone Marble Urban geology Cultural heritage Tuscany Italy 



We would like to thank Marcello Spampinato for the stone sampling.

Funding Information

This work was financially supported by PRA_2018_41-Georisorse e Ambiente.


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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Applied and Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory, Research Area of National Research CouncilInstitute of Chemistry of Organometallic CompoundsPisaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Civilization and Form of KnowledgeUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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