Pisano was born about 1206. Though he called himself Pisanus, from Pisa, where most of his life was spent, he was not a Pisan by birth. There are two distinct accounts of his parentage, both derived mainly from existing documents. According to one of these he is said to have been the son of "Petrus, a notary of Siena; " but this statement is very doubtful, especially as the word "Siena" or "de Senis" appears to be a conjectural addition. Another document among the archives of the Sienese Cathedral calls him son of "Petrus de Apulia. " Most modern writers accept the latter statement. Those, on the other hand, who, with most of the older writers, prefer to accept the theory of Niccola's origin being Tuscan, suppose that he was a native of a small town called Apulia near Lucca.