Piazza Chiara Gambacorti and the Kinzica district

Piazza Chiara Gambacorti (Lucarelli, wikimediacommons)
Piazza Chiara Gambacorti (Lucarelli, wikimediacommons)
Piazza Chiara Gambacorti is a corner very dear to the Pisans, who called it piazza la Pera (Pear square), due to the presence of a Etruscan headstone , on the corner between Via la pera and via San Martino, used to protect the masonry of the corner from the impact of wagon wheels. Until the 1930s, the medieval church of San Lorenzo in Kinzica, demolished because dilapidated, occupied the centre of the square. Later the square was transformed into a colourful market of fruit, vegetables and especially flowers, and remained so until the 90s. This space was recently redeveloped and today is one of the most beautiful and peaceful meeting places in the city. It is worth noting a good example of tower house of the XII century, the Domus dei Del Bagno, on the corner with Via la pera, which still features a pair of elegant mullioned windows with marble columns.
The area of Pisa divided into the districts of Sant'Antonio and San Martino, was the district of 'Chinzica' in the Middle Ages. Kinzica is the name of the legendary heroine who saved the city, but there is also a philological explanation that would explain the etymological origin of the district’sname; the term could, in fact, derive from the union of the Germanic root quint, which indicates stream, hollows, or by extension 'abandoned river bed' with the Arabic word suq which means 'market'. Throughout the Kinzica district the narrow streets, which run perpendicular from via San Martino and via San Paolo towards the river, are parallel to each other: it is an urban typology called 'comb'. The Arno was the main commercial channel for Pisa during the ancient and republican eras and the main source of income. Each building that overlooked the river had a small dock for the unloading of goods coming from the sea or from the valley, which were loaded on wagons and transported to the centre of the commercial district to be treated and sorted. The straight and parallel alleys allowed for quick and easily handling. Kinzica was also called the Arab district of the city; a satellite neighbourhood inhabited by merchants from all over the world, included, in the 12th century, in the city walled perimeter.
Last update: 02/04/2021
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