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Pisa's Square of Miracles with cathedral and Leaning Tower. Franco Origlia/Getty Images hide caption
The Italian region of Tuscany is not known just for its fine wines, extra-virgin olive oil and Renaissance masterpieces. It's also the birthplace of the Italian Communist Party, which was founded in 1921, and has been a bastion of left-wing governance for decades.
But in the last three years, Tuscany has experienced political upheaval as the hard-right, anti-immigrant League party has won elections in many towns, marking the first losses for the left in Tuscany in more than seven decades.
Pisa is one of those towns. It's home to three universities that have long attracted students from all over the world — some of whom settled in the Tuscan city. In its Square of Miracles, the cathedral, baptistry and iconic Leaning Tower were built more than 1,000 years ago in a blend of Byzantine and Islamic styles, symbolizing the powerful maritime republic's trade links across the Mediterranean.
Today, Pisa is home to more than 90,000 people, with a Muslim community of 2,000. Three years ago, the center-left administration provisionally approved a request to build a mosque. But after the League won power last year, the new mayor vetoed the mosque's construction, fulfilling a campaign promise.
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