Borgo Stretto and the Vanni house

Casa Vanni in Borgo Stretto (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
Casa Vanni in Borgo Stretto (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
One of the modern commercial axes of the city dates back to the Middle Ages, when the district of Foriporta, now San Francesco, was included in the perimeter of the 12th century walls. The term bŭrgus, fortified castle, took on a different meaning over the centuries, indicating an area outside the walls. From the fourteenth century, the rich Pisan merchants began to build their loggias in this area, opening shops and taverns to serve the population. The large columns that define the road section were originally mainly made of wood, but the renovatio urbis by Cosimo I and Ferdinando I de’ Medici led to a progressive replacement of materials. Commonly called Borgo, the street goes from Piazza Garibaldi, where we find the precious tabernacle of the Madonna of the Vetturini by Nino Pisano (14th century), up to via Carducci and is divided into Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo. Casa Vanni (14th century), near no. 21, facing the Vincenzo Galilei's house, is one of the best preserved examples of the ancient loggias. The façade shows a large multi-mullioned window with trefoil pointed arches and the remains of a twin one on the upper floor. In the centre, we find the coat of arms of the company of Santa Bona. A little further on, at the corner with Via San Francesco, we find Palazzo Poschi, an elegant fifteenth-century brick building, marked by two levels of mullioned windows with marble columns and the adjacent Taccola tower, from the 10th century. At no. 41 of Borgo Largo (today Via Oberdan) la loggia Tobler, with a stone and marble cladding that gives it a more elegant appearance, follows the same scheme of Casa Vanni.
The voices of the students, the slow comings and goings from the station to the faculties under the loggias of Borgo Stretto also inspired Carlo Cassola.

Cit. Pietro prese il tram per Porta a Lucca. restò in piedi sulla piattaforma di dietro. Sia Corso Vittorio che Borgo Stretto gli sembrarono deserti. Gli studenti sarebbero arrivati tra un mese: senza di loro la città aveva un’aria tetra.

Carlo Cassola, L’antagonista, 1976



Last update: 31/03/2021
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