PISA, PIAZZA DEI MIRACOLI AND THE LEANING TOWER
Pisa is not just a photo taken in front of the Tower, but a fascinating trip through the medieval and theological symbolism expressed in Nicola Pisano’s sculptures, Buffalmacco’s frescoes in the Camposanto and the pulpit in the Cathedral.
Pisa, wealthy maritime republic and powerful city since the 11th century, displays all its grandeur in the masterpieces I detail here:
- The Holy Cemetery or Camposanto: museum with a collection of copies of all the sculptures in Pisa placed along its charming Gothic corridors with Roman sarcophagi. The walls of the corridors are covered with 14th- and 15th-century frescoes by fine painters such as Piero Puccio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Taddeo Gaddi and Buffalmacco to mention only a few of them. There are also fine funeral monuments to famous citizens of Pisa from the 14th-19th centuries.
- The Cathedral: without exaggeration, one of the most beautiful in Italy, with its Moorish style and coffered ceiling, the marvellous pulpit by Giovanni Pisano from the beginning of the 14th century and a true masterpiece of Gothic sculpture in Italy, the so-called Lamp of Galileo and the 12th-century bronze doors.
- The Baptistery: with its charming circular shape, the superb, simple pulpit by Nicola Pisano from the end of the 13th century, its impressive geometry and perfect echo.
- The Tower: slender and delicate with all the arches which give it a lightness belying its weight, in part responsible for its “defect”.
- Synopias Museum: houses all the preliminary sketches for the Camposanto, discovered by chance in 1944. Today these are kept in this splendid old building which offered hospitality to pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
- Cathedral Museum: this has a collection of original masterpieces, including sculptures by Nino Pisano and Tino di Camaiano, Etruscan and Roman remains, and a collection of lithographs of the piazza and Pisa.
We could spend hours and hours marvelling at these buildings and listening to an account of them which isn’t very good but thrilling just the same. The reputation of the Tower will attract you to Pisa and the energetic strength of these buildings will make you stay.
You can combine a tour of the Piazza dei Miracoli with a tour of the old city centre, described in the section “Pisa old town center”, or with Piazza Cavalieri which is very close to Piazza dei Miracoli, with Italy’s finest university, its façade entirely covered with frescoes by Vasari in the 16th century.
All the buildings in this piazza are museums with an entrance fee. The Leaning Tower has special status and tickets cost 18 Euro per person. Children under 12 are not admitted, not even if accompanied by an adult. For the other buildings, you can chose one, two or three of them (it’s a combined ticket and you have to choose between the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Camposanto, the Sinopias Museum and the Cathedral Museum). I can help you choose and buy your tickets in advance (I advise buying tickets for the Leaning Tower in advance during the high season) or on site. Here’s the link for information on opening hours and tickets prices, or feel free to ask me for information: OPA PISA.