Pisa’s walls are the oldest city walls in Italy that remain almost entirely intact. Construction began in 1155 in the area that corresponds to today’s piazza dei Miracoli, while the seventh and final lot was built in 1161; this section defended the western side of the city, stretching from the Portello to the Torre dell''Arno. The site was chosen strategically, as these ramparts were meant to protect the cathedral and future baptistery and defend the city’s most vulnerable spot: the bridge crossing the Auser River in the northwestern part of Pisa.
Pisa’s other zones were protected by more natural barriers, including the Auser River itself and the marshes surrounding the city. The wall you’ll find in this area differs than other zones in both design and material: a vertical construction method was employed instead of the usual longitudinal pattern with horizontal layers. “Panchina” stone, a form of tufa stone, was used to construct this wall. You’ll also note a lack of continuity between the wall and its towers. After years of work and renewal, visitors may now walk on these impressive and suggestive walls, though only on select days. The three-kilometer path affords views of towers and ramparts, where you’ll also walk over the city's four gates: Porta Nuova in piazza dei Miracoli, Porta a Lucca, Porta San Zeno and Porta Calcesana.