Republic of Pisa


August 19, 2022

The republic of Pisa, also known as the First Pisan Republic, was an ancient independent state, which existed from the 11th to the 15th century. Around 1000 Pisa became one of the major Italian maritime republics. Having gradually become a consular republic, the government of the Elders was increasingly subjected to the authority of a noble figure.


The birth of the republic

The Pisan republic was born in the 11th century. In this historical period Pisa intensified its trade in the Mediterranean Sea and ended up clashing several times with the Emirate of Sicily, initially losing in 985 and then victorious in 1005 in Reggio Calabria, in 1034 in Bona in North Africa, in 1064 in Palermo, in 1087 in Mahdia in present-day Tunisia. In this first expansion, starting from the end of the 11th century, Pisa often found itself allied with the rising power of the Altavilla of the Kingdom of Sicily, such as in the capture of Palermo. In 1016 Pisa and Genoa, allied to each other, defeated the Saracens and acquired almost total control of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The two maritime republics also undertook their first commercial and then political penetration in Corsica and Sardinia. A century later they liberated the Balearics and this expedition was celebrated in the Gesta Triumphalia per Pisanos and in an epic poem, the Liber Maiolichinus, composed in the years 1113-1115.The republic of Pisa, whose port at the mouth of the Arno overlooked the sea , thus reached the peak of its splendor between the 12th and 13th centuries: its ships controlled a large part of the western and even central Mediterranean.

The battle of Meloria, on 6 August 1284

But the rivalry between Pisa and Genoa intensified in the thirteenth century and resulted in the naval battle of Meloria (1284), fought right in front of the Pisan port, which marked the beginning of the decline of the city's power, with the renunciation of any claim on Corsica. and with the transfer to Genoa of a part of Sardinia (1299). Furthermore, from 1323, the Aragonese conquest of Sardinia began, which deprived the red-crossed city of the dominion over the Giudicati of Cagliari and Gallura.

The end of the republic and the Florentine rule

Given the serious economic and political situation of the now decadent Republic, on 13 February 1399, the lord of Pisa Gherardo Leonardo d'Appiano ceded the city and the countryside for the sum of 200,000 gold florins to Gian Galeazzo Visconti of the Pisan branch of the Visconti to become lord of Piombino and obtain the appointment as Count Palatine. The control of the Republic by the Visconti did not last long, in fact Pisa maintained its independence and dominion over that part of the Tuscan coast and beyond until 1406, when it was occupied by mercenaries Angelo Tartaglia and Muzio Attandolo Sforza who ordered the annexation to the republic Florentine. With the Florentine domination began an unstoppable decline of the city which, in the arts, had spread the Pisan Romanesque architectural style also in the islands and in the Sardinian churches. After stifling the commercial and mercantile traffic, which had characterized its efficiency for centuries, some of the most important Pisan families, in order to escape the Florentine grip, emigrated abroad or to other Italian states, especially Sicily. The Alliata, the Vanni, the Caetani, the Damiani, the Agnelli, the Corvini, the Bonanni (later also in Abruzzo), the Upezzinghi, the Galletti, the da Settimo moved to Palermo from the early years of the fifteenth century. , the Gambacorti (first in Naples), the Palmerini, the del Tignoso, the Vernagalli, the Mastiani, the Pandolfini, the Grassolini, the da Vecchiano, the Bernardi, and many other families. Florence was chosen as the residence by the della Gherardesca, the Compagni, the Caetani, while the Lante, the Roncioni, the Angeli and the Campiglia Ceuli moved to Rome.

Territory and administration

The territory subjected to the maritime city has had over the centuries