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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


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Lodging Near Palazzo della Carovana

See all 580 Hotels near Palazzo della Carovana
$99
Grand Hotel Duomo

Grand Hotel Duomo

Via Santa Maria 94, Pisa
3.6
of 5, from 1,008 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This modern hotel is located in the city centre of Pisa, a short distance from the Duomo, 200 meters from the Leaning Tower, a 20-minute walk from Pisa Centrale Railway Station, and 4 km from Galileo Galilei Airport.

$81
NH Pisa

NH Pisa

Piazza Stazione 2, Pisa
4.0
of 5, from 979 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Mediterranean Institute of Linguistics Pisa and Pisa Royal Palace. Leaning Tower and National Museum of San Matteo are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$60
Grand Hotel Bonanno

Grand Hotel Bonanno

Via Carlo Francesco Gabba, 17, Pisa
4.0
of 5, from 1,745 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This modern hotel is located in a quiet area just under a kilometer from the Leaning Tower and historic center of Pisa, and 3 km from Pisa Airport.

$82
Hotel Bologna

Hotel Bologna

Via Mazzini 57, Pisa
4.3
of 5, from 1,311 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Palazzo Blu and Pisa Royal Palace. Knight's Square and National Museum of San Matteo are also within 15 minutes.

Royal Victoria Hotel

Royal Victoria Hotel

Lungarno Pacinotti 12, Pisa
3.8
of 5, from 1,441 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Palazzo Agostini, Pisa Royal Palace, and Knight's Square. Leaning Tower and National Museum of San Matteo are also within 15 minutes.

$61
Hotel Villa Kinzica

Hotel Villa Kinzica

P Zza Arcivescovado 2, Pisa
3.6
of 5, from 391 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is steps from Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and Leaning Tower. Piazza dei Miracoli and Pisa Baptistry are also within 5 minutes.

$48
Casa San Tommaso

Casa San Tommaso

Via San Tommaso, 13, Pisa
3.8
of 5, from 248 reviews
0.0 out of 5.0

Located in Pisa City Centre, this guesthouse is within a 5-minute walk of Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Leaning Tower, and Knight's Square. Piazza dei Miracoli and Pisa Baptistry are also within 10 minutes.

$76
Villa Tower Inn

Villa Tower Inn

Via Bonanno Pisano 62, Pisa
4.0
of 5, from 244 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cathedral of Pisa, Leaning Tower, and Camposanto. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and Piazza dei Miracoli are also within 15 minutes.