Campo dei Miracoli (Piazza del Duomo), Pisa
In the northwest of the town of Pisa, enclosed on two sides by the old battlemented town walls, is the Piazza del Duomo or Campo dei Miracoli, with the cathedral, the Leaning Tower, the Baptistery and the Campo Santo - a harmoniously composed group of buildings of unrivaled beauty.
Campo dei Miracoli (Piazza del Duomo) Map
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The infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the city's most notable landmarks. Tilted at 5°30' off center, the tower's 294 steps can be climbed to the platform where the view is memorable.
Pisa's Cathedral is built of beautiful white marble, and was first started in the late 11th C. Notable features include bronze doors from the 12th C and the pulpit created by Giovanni Pisano.
The Baptistery in Pisa dates from the early 12th C. The imposing structure stands on its own near the cathedral and shows several different styles of architecture from Romanesque to Gothic.
Pisa's Campo Santo is a large rectangular cemetery enclosure, and is said to contain sacred soil from Golgotha. Of particular note are the frescoes and created by an unknown artist.
Museo delle Sinopie
On the south side of the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, housed in a former hospice, is the Museo delle Sinópie (opened 1979). During the restoration of the Camposanto a large number of these preliminary sketches for frescoes (sinópie) were discovered, and these are now displayed in the museum. These sketches were the artist's most important contribution to a fresco, specifying as they did every detail of a composition; thereafter the actual execution of the fresco was often left to pupils or assistants. In the museum the sinópie are shown in conjunction with reproductions of the corresponding frescoes.
At the east end of the Campo dei Mirácoli, in the Piazza dell'Arcivescovado, stands the 15th century Palazzo Arcivescovile (Archbishop's Palace), which contains the Archiepiscopal Archives. The chapel on the first floor is decorated with Baroque frescoes.
East of the Piazza del Duomo is the Cathedral Museum (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo), with art of the buildings situated in the Piazza and the valuable treasury including embroideries, tombs, silver church objects, sculpture and pictures.
To the south of the Campo dei Mirácoli, between Via Roma and Via Porta Buozzi, lies the Orto Botánico (Botanic Garden), originally laid out in 1543 by Cosimo de' Medici. It is now associated with the University; in the center of the gardens is the Botanical Institute. Here plants from many different climatic zones flourish, either in the open air or in the various greenhouses.
House of Galileo
Northwest of the university, on the south side of the Botanical Garden, is the Domus Galilaeana (house of Galileo), a memorial to the Pisa-born scientist and mathematician Galileo Galilei (library and study).
The Church of Santa Maria, originally built in the 12th century, was much altered in later centuries. The 13th century campanile, like the campanile of the cathedral, leans off the vertical, but less seriously so. The lower part is cylindrical, the upper part octagonal; there is a spiral staircase to the top.
The Church of San Frediano, in the square to the east of the House of Galileo, is first mentioned in the records in 1061, but was probably not finished until the 12th century. The facade with its blind arcading in Romanesque; the interior in its present day form dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Map - Campo dei Miracoli (Piazza del Duomo)
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