Two pentaaza macrocycles containing pyridine in the backbone, namely 3,6,9,12,18-pentaazabicyclo[12.3.1] octadeca-1(18),14,16-triene (pyN(5)), and 3,6,10,13,19-pentaazabicyclo[13.3.1]nonadeca-1(19),15,17-triene (pyN(5)), were synthesized in good yields. The acid-base behaviour of these compounds was studied by potentiometry at 298.2 K in aqueous solution and ionic strength 0.10 M in KNO(3). The protonation sequence of pyN(5) was investigated by (1)H NMR titration that also allowed the determination of protonation constants in D(2)O. Binding studies of the two ligands with Ca(2+), Ni(2+), Cu(2+), Zn(2+), Cd(2+), and Pb(2+) metal ions were performed under the same experimental conditions. The results showed that all the complexes formed with the 15-membered ligand, particularly those of Cu(2+) and especially Ni(2+), are thermodynamically more stable than with the larger macrocycle. Cyclic voltammetric data showed that the copper(II) complexes of the two macrocycles exhibited analogous behaviour, with a single quasi-reversible one-electron transfer reduction process assigned to the Cu(II)/Cu(I) couple. The UV-visible-near IR spectroscopic and magnetic moment data of the nickel(II) complexes in solution indicated a tetragonal distorted coordination geometry for the metal centre. X-band EPR spectra of the copper(II) complexes are consistent with distorted square pyramidal geometries. The crystal structure of [Cu(pyN(5))](2+) determined by X-ray diffraction showed the copper(II) centre coordinated to all five macrocyclic nitrogen donors in a distorted square pyramidal environment.