Casino dei Nobili
The Casino dei Nobili was built in mid 18th century for the delight of the aristocracy. In those days Pisa and the Baths at San Giuliano were internationally famed resorts for tourists. The dances, gaming, receptions and occasions for genteel conversation that used to be organised to delight the nobility and their many foreign guests were very expensive so, the better to fulfill their obligations due to rank, the Pisan nobility decided to build public assembly rooms at their own expense, to be run by the aristocracy as a whole. A building that stood in piazza del Ponte di Mezzo, belonging at the time to the monks of the Nicosia monastery, was theperfect choice. It was ceded to the nobles and opened in 1754. Entry was permitted only to a restricted circle of noblemen and ladies, to army officers serving under a sovereign and to foreigners, the last of whom had to be accompanied by a person who could guarantee their belonging to the aristocratic elite.
Although the Casino was frequented by cosmopolitan but choice society, breaks with etiquette were not infrequent. Gambling could spark quarrels and cause fights even among the best-mannered gentlemen, to the point that admission was granted explicitly only to those who could behave in a way suitable to noblemen and women. During the Napoleonic period, with the opening of the Stanze Civiche, the organization began to decline; this was a private upper middle class club for members of society and notables of the town but which did not place too much emphasis on status.
The Casino de Nobili continued to decline until 1852 when, condemned because of its by then anachronistic criteria of selection, it was sold off to the Stanze Civiche society.