The rich exterior decoration contains multicolored marble, mosaic, and numerous bronze objects from the spoils of war, among which is the griffin which was taken in Palermo in 1061 and later placed on the eastern part of the roof. In the early 19th century the original sculpture, which can now be seen in the cathedral museum, was removed from the roof and replaced with a copy. The high arches show Islamic and southern Italian influence. The blind arches with lozenge shapes recall similar structures in Armenia. The facade of grey and white marble, decorated with colored marble inserts, was built by Master Rainaldo. Above the three doorways are four levels of loggia divided by cornices with marble intarsia, behind which open single, double, and triple windows.

The heavy bronze doors of the facade were made by different Florentine artists in the 17th century. Contrary to what might be thought, from the beginning the faithful entered the cathedral through the door of Saint Rainerius, found in the transept of the same name, which faces the bell tower. This was because the nobles of the city, who approached the cathedral by via Santa Maria, would find themselves precisely at this entrance. This door was cast about 1180 by Bonanno Pisano, and it is the only door not destroyed by the fire of 1595 that heavily damaged the cathedral.

The Pisa Baptistery of St. John (Italian: Battistero di San Giovanni) is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical building in Pisa, Italy. Construction started in 1152 to replace an older baptistery, and when it was completed in 1363, it became the second building, in chronological order, in the Piazza dei Miracoli, near the Duomo di Pisa and the cathedral's free-standing campanile, the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The baptistery was designed by Diotisalvi, whose signature can be read on two pillars inside the building, with the date 1153.

The rich exterior decoration contains multicolored marble, mosaic, and numerous bronze objects from the spoils of war, among which is the griffin which was taken in Palermo in 1061 and later placed on the eastern part of the roof. In the early 19th century the original sculpture, which can now be seen in the cathedral museum, was removed from the roof and replaced with a copy. The high arches show Islamic and southern Italian influence. The blind arches with lozenge shapes recall similar structures in Armenia. The facade of grey and white marble, decorated with colored marble inserts, was built by Master Rainaldo. Above the three doorways are four levels of loggia divided by cornices with marble intarsia, behind which open single, double, and triple windows.

The heavy bronze doors of the facade were made by different Florentine artists in the 17th century. Contrary to what might be thought, from the beginning the faithful entered the cathedral through the door of Saint Rainerius, found in the transept of the same name, which faces the bell tower. This was because the nobles of the city, who approached the cathedral by via Santa Maria, would find themselves precisely at this entrance. This door was cast about 1180 by Bonanno Pisano, and it is the only door not destroyed by the fire of 1595 that heavily damaged the cathedral.

Legend says that if you look at the red column for 5 minutes, you will find your true love if you are single, or if not, that your true love will remain faithfull.  It is only good for one day though.

The heavy bronze doors of the facade were made by different Florentine artists in the 17th century. Contrary to what might be thought, from the beginning the faithful entered the cathedral through the door of Saint Rainerius, found in the transept of the same name, which faces the bell tower. This was because the nobles of the city, who approached the cathedral by via Santa Maria, would find themselves precisely at this entrance. This door was cast about 1180 by Bonanno Pisano, and it is the only door not destroyed by the fire of 1595 that heavily damaged the cathedral.

Above the doors are four open galleries, with, at the top, the Madonna and Child and, in the angles, the four evangelists. The tomb of Buscheto is found to the left of the north door of the facade.

The inside of the dome, found where the central nave and the transepts cross, is decorated using a rare painting technique called encaustic and depicts the Virgin in glory with saints by the Pisan artists Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi (1627-1631). Restoration of the dome began in 2015 and is expected to conclude in 2018.

The granite Corinthian columns between the nave and the apse come from the mosque of Palermo, and are Pisan spoils retained in 1063 after a successful joint attack with the Normans on the Muslims in that city.

The large mosaic in the apse of Christ enthroned between the Virgin and Saint John is famous for the face of Saint John, painted by Cimabue in 1302, which miraculously survived the fire of 1595. This is the last work painted by Cimabue and the only work of his for which we have certified documentation. The work evokes the mosaics of the Byzantine and Norman churches found in Cefalù and Monreale in Sicily. The mosaic, in large part made by Francesco da Pisa, was brought to completion by Vincino da Pistoia with the Madonna on the left side (1320).

Among the medieval works that avoided destruction during the fire of 1595 are the fresco of the Madonna with Child in the triumphal arch by the Pisan artist Maestro di San Torpè, as well as the cosmati pavement, work rarely found outside of Lazio. It was made using inlaid marble to create geometric patters (mid-12th century). Other fresco fragments from the late medieval period have survived, among which is Saint Jerome on one of the four central pylons, as well as Saint John the Bapstist, a Crucifixion, and Saints Cosmas and Damian on one of the pylons near the entrance, partially hidden by the entry way.

It has a wooden 17th-century coffered ceiling, painted and decorated with gold leaf, made by Domenico and Bartolomeo Atticciati; it bears the Medici coat of arms. Presumably the earlier ceiling was a structure with wooden trusses.

The lamp at the center of the nave is called Galileo's lamp, because a legend says that the great scientist formulated his theory of isochronism of the pendulum while watching its oscillations from the roof of the nave. The original, however, smaller and very different than this one, is found today in the Camposanto.

The inside of the dome, found where the central nave and the transepts cross, is decorated using a rare painting technique called encaustic and depicts the Virgin in glory with saints by the Pisan artists Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi (1627-1631). Restoration of the dome began in 2015 and is expected to conclude in 2018.

The granite Corinthian columns between the nave and the apse come from the mosque of Palermo, and are Pisan spoils retained in 1063 after a successful joint attack with the Normans on the Muslims in that city.

The large mosaic in the apse of Christ enthroned between the Virgin and Saint John is famous for the face of Saint John, painted by Cimabue in 1302, which miraculously survived the fire of 1595. This is the last work painted by Cimabue and the only work of his for which we have certified documentation. The work evokes the mosaics of the Byzantine and Norman churches found in Cefalù and Monreale in Sicily. The mosaic, in large part made by Francesco da Pisa, was brought to completion by Vincino da Pistoia with the Madonna on the left side (1320).

Among the medieval works that avoided destruction during the fire of 1595 are the fresco of the Madonna with Child in the triumphal arch by the Pisan artist Maestro di San Torpè, as well as the cosmati pavement, work rarely found outside of Lazio. It was made using inlaid marble to create geometric patters (mid-12th century). Other fresco fragments from the late medieval period have survived, among which is Saint Jerome on one of the four central pylons, as well as Saint John the Bapstist, a Crucifixion, and Saints Cosmas and Damian on one of the pylons near the entrance, partially hidden by the entry way.

The inside of the dome, found where the central nave and the transepts cross, is decorated using a rare painting technique called encaustic and depicts the Virgin in glory with saints by the Pisan artists Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi (1627-1631). Restoration of the dome began in 2015 and is expected to conclude in 2018.

The granite Corinthian columns between the nave and the apse come from the mosque of Palermo, and are Pisan spoils retained in 1063 after a successful joint attack with the Normans on the Muslims in that city.

The large mosaic in the apse of Christ enthroned between the Virgin and Saint John is famous for the face of Saint John, painted by Cimabue in 1302, which miraculously survived the fire of 1595. This is the last work painted by Cimabue and the only work of his for which we have certified documentation. The work evokes the mosaics of the Byzantine and Norman churches found in Cefalù and Monreale in Sicily. The mosaic, in large part made by Francesco da Pisa, was brought to completion by Vincino da Pistoia with the Madonna on the left side (1320).

Among the medieval works that avoided destruction during the fire of 1595 are the fresco of the Madonna with Child in the triumphal arch by the Pisan artist Maestro di San Torpè, as well as the cosmati pavement, work rarely found outside of Lazio. It was made using inlaid marble to create geometric patters (mid-12th century). Other fresco fragments from the late medieval period have survived, among which is Saint Jerome on one of the four central pylons, as well as Saint John the Bapstist, a Crucifixion, and Saints Cosmas and Damian on one of the pylons near the entrance, partially hidden by the entry way.

The inside of the dome, found where the central nave and the transepts cross, is decorated using a rare painting technique called encaustic and depicts the Virgin in glory with saints by the Pisan artists Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi (1627-1631). Restoration of the dome began in 2015 and is expected to conclude in 2018.

The granite Corinthian columns between the nave and the apse come from the mosque of Palermo, and are Pisan spoils retained in 1063 after a successful joint attack with the Normans on the Muslims in that city.

The large mosaic in the apse of Christ enthroned between the Virgin and Saint John is famous for the face of Saint John, painted by Cimabue in 1302, which miraculously survived the fire of 1595. This is the last work painted by Cimabue and the only work of his for which we have certified documentation. The work evokes the mosaics of the Byzantine and Norman churches found in Cefalù and Monreale in Sicily. The mosaic, in large part made by Francesco da Pisa, was brought to completion by Vincino da Pistoia with the Madonna on the left side (1320).

Among the medieval works that avoided destruction during the fire of 1595 are the fresco of the Madonna with Child in the triumphal arch by the Pisan artist Maestro di San Torpè, as well as the cosmati pavement, work rarely found outside of Lazio. It was made using inlaid marble to create geometric patters (mid-12th century). Other fresco fragments from the late medieval period have survived, among which is Saint Jerome on one of the four central pylons, as well as Saint John the Bapstist, a Crucifixion, and Saints Cosmas and Damian on one of the pylons near the entrance, partially hidden by the entry way.

The inside of the dome, found where the central nave and the transepts cross, is decorated using a rare painting technique called encaustic and depicts the Virgin in glory with saints by the Pisan artists Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi (1627-1631). Restoration of the dome began in 2015 and is expected to conclude in 2018.

The granite Corinthian columns between the nave and the apse come from the mosque of Palermo, and are Pisan spoils retained in 1063 after a successful joint attack with the Normans on the Muslims in that city.

The large mosaic in the apse of Christ enthroned between the Virgin and Saint John is famous for the face of Saint John, painted by Cimabue in 1302, which miraculously survived the fire of 1595. This is the last work painted by Cimabue and the only work of his for which we have certified documentation. The work evokes the mosaics of the Byzantine and Norman churches found in Cefalù and Monreale in Sicily. The mosaic, in large part made by Francesco da Pisa, was brought to completion by Vincino da Pistoia with the Madonna on the left side (1320).

Among the medieval works that avoided destruction during the fire of 1595 are the fresco of the Madonna with Child in the triumphal arch by the Pisan artist Maestro di San Torpè, as well as the cosmati pavement, work rarely found outside of Lazio. It was made using inlaid marble to create geometric patters (mid-12th century). Other fresco fragments from the late medieval period have survived, among which is Saint Jerome on one of the four central pylons, as well as Saint John the Bapstist, a Crucifixion, and Saints Cosmas and Damian on one of the pylons near the entrance, partially hidden by the entry way.

Pope Gregory VIII is buried in the cathedral

The pulpit, a masterpiece made by Giovanni Pisano (1302-1310), survived the fire but was dismantled during the work of restoration and was not reassembled until 1926. With its intricate architecture and its complex sculptural decoration the work presents one of the most sweeping narratives of the 13th-century imagination which reflects the religious renewal and fervor of the era. On the slightly curved panels are sculpted with an expressive language the episodes of the life of Christ. The structure is polygonal (exactly as seen in the analogous works in the Baptistery of Pisa, in the Siena Cathedral Pulpit, and in the church of Saint Andrew); but this is the first example in a work of this type in which the panels are slightly curved. Other original features include:

the presence of caryatids, sculpted figures in place of simple columns, that symbolize the Virtues;
the use of scrolled 'shelving' in place of arches to support the raised platform;
the sense of movement given by the numerous figures that fill up every empty space.
For these qualities united to the skillful narrative art of the nine scenes the pulpit is generally considered [by whom?] to be a masterpiece, but more broadly it is considered a masterpiece of Italian gothic sculpture. This pulpit substituted the previous one made by Guglielmo (1157-1162) that was sent to the Cagliari Cathedral. Given the lack of documentation prior to its dismantling, the pulpit was placed in a location different from its original spot, and without doubt, its parts are not in their original positions either. It is unknown if the original work possessed a marble staircase.

The pulpit, a masterpiece made by Giovanni Pisano (1302-1310), survived the fire but was dismantled during the work of restoration and was not reassembled until 1926. With its intricate architecture and its complex sculptural decoration the work presents one of the most sweeping narratives of the 13th-century imagination which reflects the religious renewal and fervor of the era. On the slightly curved panels are sculpted with an expressive language the episodes of the life of Christ. The structure is polygonal (exactly as seen in the analogous works in the Baptistery of Pisa, in the Siena Cathedral Pulpit, and in the church of Saint Andrew); but this is the first example in a work of this type in which the panels are slightly curved. Other original features include:

the presence of caryatids, sculpted figures in place of simple columns, that symbolize the Virtues;
the use of scrolled 'shelving' in place of arches to support the raised platform;
the sense of movement given by the numerous figures that fill up every empty space.
For these qualities united to the skillful narrative art of the nine scenes the pulpit is generally considered [by whom?] to be a masterpiece, but more broadly it is considered a masterpiece of Italian gothic sculpture. This pulpit substituted the previous one made by Guglielmo (1157-1162) that was sent to the Cagliari Cathedral. Given the lack of documentation prior to its dismantling, the pulpit was placed in a location different from its original spot, and without doubt, its parts are not in their original positions either. It is unknown if the original work possessed a marble staircase.

The pulpit, a masterpiece made by Giovanni Pisano (1302-1310), survived the fire but was dismantled during the work of restoration and was not reassembled until 1926. With its intricate architecture and its complex sculptural decoration the work presents one of the most sweeping narratives of the 13th-century imagination which reflects the religious renewal and fervor of the era. On the slightly curved panels are sculpted with an expressive language the episodes of the life of Christ. The structure is polygonal (exactly as seen in the analogous works in the Baptistery of Pisa, in the Siena Cathedral Pulpit, and in the church of Saint Andrew); but this is the first example in a work of this type in which the panels are slightly curved. Other original features include:

the presence of caryatids, sculpted figures in place of simple columns, that symbolize the Virtues;
the use of scrolled 'shelving' in place of arches to support the raised platform;
the sense of movement given by the numerous figures that fill up every empty space.
For these qualities united to the skillful narrative art of the nine scenes the pulpit is generally considered [by whom?] to be a masterpiece, but more broadly it is considered a masterpiece of Italian gothic sculpture. This pulpit substituted the previous one made by Guglielmo (1157-1162) that was sent to the Cagliari Cathedral. Given the lack of documentation prior to its dismantling, the pulpit was placed in a location different from its original spot, and without doubt, its parts are not in their original positions either. It is unknown if the original work possessed a marble staircase.

The Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery), also known as Campo Santo or Camposanto Vecchio (Old Cemetery), is located at the northern edge of the square. This walled cemetery is said to have been built around a shipload of sacred soil from Calvary, brought back to Pisa from the Fourth Crusade by Ubaldo de' Lanfranchi, the archbishop of Pisa in the 12th century. This is where the name Campo Santo (Holy Field) originates.

The building itself dates from a century later and was erected over the earlier burial ground. The building of this huge, oblong Gothic cloister began in 1278 by the architect Giovanni di Simone. He died in 1284 when Pisa suffered a defeat in a naval battle of Meloria against the Genoans. The cemetery was only completed in 1464. The outer wall is composed of 43 blind arches. There are two doorways. The one on the right is crowned by a gracious Gothic tabernacle and contains the Virgin Mary with Child surrounded by four saints. It is the work from the second half of the 14th century by a follower of Giovanni Pisano. Most of the tombs are under the arcades, although a few are on the central lawn. The inner court is surrounded by elaborate round arches with slender mullions and plurilobed tracery.

On the north side, to the left side of the facade in front of the Camposanto at about eye level, is an original piece of Roman marble (as testified to by its decoration that can still in part be seen), on which are a series of small black marks. Legend says that these marks were left by the devil when he climbed up to the dome attempting to stop its construction, and so they are referred to as the scratches of the devil. (The legend also says that out of spite the number of scratches always changes when counted.)

The campanile (bell tower), commonly known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is located behind the cathedral. The last of the three major buildings on the piazza to be built, construction of the bell tower began in 1173 and took place in three stages over the course of 177 years, with the bell-chamber only added in 1372. Five years after construction began, when the building had reached the third floor level, the weak subsoil and poor foundation led to the building sinking on its south side. The building was left for a century, which allowed the subsoil to stabilise itself and prevented the building from collapsing. In 1272, to adjust the lean of the building, when construction resumed, the upper floors were built with one side taller than the other. The seventh and final floor was added in 1319. By the time the building was completed, the lean was approximately 1 degree, or 80 cm (2.5 feet) from vertical. At its greatest, measured prior to 1990, the lean measured approximately 5.5 degrees. As of 2010, the lean was reduced to approximately 4 degrees.

The tower stands approximately 60 m high, and was built to accommodate a total of seven main bells, cast to the musical scale:

L'Assunta, cast in 1654 by Giovanni Pietro Orlandi, weight 3,620 kg (7,981 lb)
Il Crocifisso, cast in 1572 by Vincenzo Possenti, weight 2,462 kg (5,428 lb)
San Ranieri, cast in 1719–21 by Giovanni Andrea Moreni, weight 1,448 kg (3,192 lb)
La Terza, the first small bell, cast in 1473, weight 300 kg (661 lb)
La Pasquereccia or La Giustizia, cast in 1262 by Lotteringo, weight 1,014 kg (2,235 lb)
Il Vespruccio, the second small bell, cast in the 14th century and again in 1501 by Nicola di Jacopo, weight 1,000 kg (2,205 lb)
Dal Pozzo, cast in 1606 and again in 2004, weight 652 kg (1,437 lb)

There are 296 steps leading to the top of the tower.

The campanile (bell tower), commonly known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is located behind the cathedral. The last of the three major buildings on the piazza to be built, construction of the bell tower began in 1173 and took place in three stages over the course of 177 years, with the bell-chamber only added in 1372. Five years after construction began, when the building had reached the third floor level, the weak subsoil and poor foundation led to the building sinking on its south side. The building was left for a century, which allowed the subsoil to stabilise itself and prevented the building from collapsing. In 1272, to adjust the lean of the building, when construction resumed, the upper floors were built with one side taller than the other. The seventh and final floor was added in 1319. By the time the building was completed, the lean was approximately 1 degree, or 80 cm (2.5 feet) from vertical. At its greatest, measured prior to 1990, the lean measured approximately 5.5 degrees. As of 2010, the lean was reduced to approximately 4 degrees.

The tower stands approximately 60 m high, and was built to accommodate a total of seven main bells, cast to the musical scale:

L'Assunta, cast in 1654 by Giovanni Pietro Orlandi, weight 3,620 kg (7,981 lb)
Il Crocifisso, cast in 1572 by Vincenzo Possenti, weight 2,462 kg (5,428 lb)
San Ranieri, cast in 1719–21 by Giovanni Andrea Moreni, weight 1,448 kg (3,192 lb)
La Terza, the first small bell, cast in 1473, weight 300 kg (661 lb)
La Pasquereccia or La Giustizia, cast in 1262 by Lotteringo, weight 1,014 kg (2,235 lb)
Il Vespruccio, the second small bell, cast in the 14th century and again in 1501 by Nicola di Jacopo, weight 1,000 kg (2,205 lb)
Dal Pozzo, cast in 1606 and again in 2004, weight 652 kg (1,437 lb)

There are 296 steps leading to the top of the tower.

The campanile (bell tower), commonly known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is located behind the cathedral. The last of the three major buildings on the piazza to be built, construction of the bell tower began in 1173 and took place in three stages over the course of 177 years, with the bell-chamber only added in 1372. Five years after construction began, when the building had reached the third floor level, the weak subsoil and poor foundation led to the building sinking on its south side. The building was left for a century, which allowed the subsoil to stabilise itself and prevented the building from collapsing. In 1272, to adjust the lean of the building, when construction resumed, the upper floors were built with one side taller than the other. The seventh and final floor was added in 1319. By the time the building was completed, the lean was approximately 1 degree, or 80 cm (2.5 feet) from vertical. At its greatest, measured prior to 1990, the lean measured approximately 5.5 degrees. As of 2010, the lean was reduced to approximately 4 degrees.

The tower stands approximately 60 m high, and was built to accommodate a total of seven main bells, cast to the musical scale:

L'Assunta, cast in 1654 by Giovanni Pietro Orlandi, weight 3,620 kg (7,981 lb)
Il Crocifisso, cast in 1572 by Vincenzo Possenti, weight 2,462 kg (5,428 lb)
San Ranieri, cast in 1719–21 by Giovanni Andrea Moreni, weight 1,448 kg (3,192 lb)
La Terza, the first small bell, cast in 1473, weight 300 kg (661 lb)
La Pasquereccia or La Giustizia, cast in 1262 by Lotteringo, weight 1,014 kg (2,235 lb)
Il Vespruccio, the second small bell, cast in the 14th century and again in 1501 by Nicola di Jacopo, weight 1,000 kg (2,205 lb)
Dal Pozzo, cast in 1606 and again in 2004, weight 652 kg (1,437 lb)

There are 296 steps leading to the top of the tower.

The campanile (bell tower), commonly known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is located behind the cathedral. The last of the three major buildings on the piazza to be built, construction of the bell tower began in 1173 and took place in three stages over the course of 177 years, with the bell-chamber only added in 1372. Five years after construction began, when the building had reached the third floor level, the weak subsoil and poor foundation led to the building sinking on its south side. The building was left for a century, which allowed the subsoil to stabilise itself and prevented the building from collapsing. In 1272, to adjust the lean of the building, when construction resumed, the upper floors were built with one side taller than the other. The seventh and final floor was added in 1319. By the time the building was completed, the lean was approximately 1 degree, or 80 cm (2.5 feet) from vertical. At its greatest, measured prior to 1990, the lean measured approximately 5.5 degrees. As of 2010, the lean was reduced to approximately 4 degrees.

The tower stands approximately 60 m high, and was built to accommodate a total of seven main bells, cast to the musical scale:

L'Assunta, cast in 1654 by Giovanni Pietro Orlandi, weight 3,620 kg (7,981 lb)
Il Crocifisso, cast in 1572 by Vincenzo Possenti, weight 2,462 kg (5,428 lb)
San Ranieri, cast in 1719–21 by Giovanni Andrea Moreni, weight 1,448 kg (3,192 lb)
La Terza, the first small bell, cast in 1473, weight 300 kg (661 lb)
La Pasquereccia or La Giustizia, cast in 1262 by Lotteringo, weight 1,014 kg (2,235 lb)
Il Vespruccio, the second small bell, cast in the 14th century and again in 1501 by Nicola di Jacopo, weight 1,000 kg (2,205 lb)
Dal Pozzo, cast in 1606 and again in 2004, weight 652 kg (1,437 lb)

There are 296 steps leading to the top of the tower.

Note the banana shape due to the correcting construction process

You may also like

Back to Top