The origins of Pise are uncertain: a number of theses exist supporting a Ligurian or Greek origin, whereas it is certain that it was a Etruscan settlement and later a Roman colony.
Pise first belonged to the Longobard kingdom and later to the Carolingian empire. Already an important naval base in the roman era,from the 11th century Pise intensified its Mediterranean trade,with numerous victories of its fleet over Muslim cities and shis.
The Medieval Era coincided with the height of its economic, political and artistics growth, to which the urban planning of the old center bears witness by its many religious and civic building, its squares, its typical narrow alleys that run perpendicular to the river Arno, the great trade route that for centuries represented the economic heart of the city.
The city walls, whose costruction began around 1154-1155, were completed in the mid-14th centurt and today represent an important part of the architectural heritage. The Crusades offered the chance to extended commercial traffic in the Mediterranean, where Pisen colonies were estabilished with large fondachi warehuouses, houses and churches. The slow decline of the city was marked by its defeat in 1284 by its rival Genoa in the naval battle of the sandbanks of Meloria and the subsequent loss of Sardinia, with serious damage to city finances. In 1406 Pise was conquered for the first time by Florence, thus beginning a long period of profund crisis that ended only with the political ascent of the Medici nobles. From the second half of the 16th century there was a recovery characterized by the development of the University, founded on the orders of Lorenzo il Magnifico at the end of the 15th century. Cosimo I dè Medici and his successors renovated the aspect of the squares and churches, rendering Pise the second capital of Tuscany, until its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.