The Palazzo dei Cavalieri, also referred to as the Palazzo della Carovana, is a reputed historic edifice located in the homonymous square, namely, Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights’ Square). This establishment dates back to the mid 16th century, when Georgio Vasari was in charge of the renovation of a former edifice, namely, the Palazzo degli Anziani (Palace of the Elders). The results of the work of this global personality were intended for the use of the Knights of St. Steven, more precisely, for their training which was supposed to take place on the training grounds hosted by the respective palazzo (in Italian, carovane, hence, the name of Palazzo della Carovana).

This establishment is valuable not only as to its historic relevance, but also by its architecture and decorative elements. Thus, the exterior is extremely eye catching by its sgraffito decorated façade conceived, for that matter, by Vasari and executed by two sculptors, that is, Alessandro Forzori and Tommaso di Batista del Verrocchio. The effect generated by the façade is enriched by the coats of arms – of the Medici and of the Knights – and by the six busts rendering the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, these busts being a later acquisition, dating back from the 16th to the 18th century. Other elements which add up to the overall imposing stature of the building refer to outer the two staircases – restored in early 19th century – and to the roof, impressive by the way it was conceived by the chief architect of the edifice. At present, the Palazzo hosts the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, a reputed education institution founded by Napoleon, and it has been home for this institution since early 19th century.

Palazzo dei Cavalieri
Piazza dei Cavalieri, Pisa, Italy