Baptistry of St John, Pisa, Italy


Most guests who consider the offerings of Pisa, Italy, immediately think about the Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, the location offers a bountiful array of architectural feats that deserve equal if not more attention. The Baptistry of St John, Pisa, Italy an architectural marvel, abounds with beauty, design and historical significance that every guest has the opportunity to appreciate.

The building draws on traditional Italian Romanesque and Gothic architectural influences. The baptistery was the second structure to be completed in the Piazza dei Miracoli after the completion of the Duomo Cathedral to signify the city’s wealth and prominence.

Baptistry of St John, Pisa, Italy The completion of the building took 200 years, and it stands approximately 55 meters high, slightly taller than the Leaning Tower. The lower extremities of the baptistery consist of a spacious gallery buttressed by classical arches and pillars. The upper levels echo the Gothic style with sharp arches pointing to the heavens. Hovering above the entrance way of the baptistry is a relief portraying the life of Saint John the Baptist as well as one of Christ, the Madonna and a medley of evangelists and angels. The apex of the entrance is marked by a significant statue depiction of the Madonna with the child.

The interior of the baptistery features vibrant stained glass windows and the signature baptismal pool. The baptismal at the center of the space originates from 1246 and is large enough to accommodate baptisms by total immersion. An pillar reveals the identity of the architect responsible for creating the structure known as “Diotisalvi”. This architect also built the Church of the Santo Sepolcro housed in central Pisa. Moreover, the inside of the structure boasts perfect acoustics enabling a visitor to experience sound that travels around the dome for several seconds. Applause too fosters a splendid echo effect demonstrated often by the staff of the institution.

Photographers have the opportunity for great views and shots from the upper balcony of the space with vistas of the the Leaning Tower, the Duomo Cathedral and the rest of the Piazza dei Miracoli. Legend maintains that the private citizens of Pisa founded the construction of the structures beginning in the early 12th century with each family to pay one denaro for the building. In addition, most visitors are surprised to learn that baptistry like the cathedral and the tower also leans slightly 0.6 degrees towards the cathedral. This and other surprising curiosities await visitors of the Baptistry of St John.


Camposanto Monumentale, Pisa, Italy


The Camposanto Monumentale, Pisa, Italy has a long and interesting history. Visitors to the historic “Holy Field” will see architecture dating back to the crusades of the middle ages as well as the art and design of the renaissance period. The Camposanto is one of the must-see attractions for anyone visiting Italy with an interest in religion, art and design.

Designed by Giovanni di Simone, the same man who designed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Camposanto encompassed holy ground. Italian knights on crusades to the holy lands during the 12th century brought back to Italy soil gathered from Mount Golgotha. This is the mount where Christ was crucified according to Christian tradition.

Camposanto Monumentale, Pisa, ItalyThis soil was considered holy and served as the center of the monument developed by Simone. His design included an open rectangle maintained as a lawn that contained the Golgotha soil. Surrounding the lawn were marble columns and cloisters decorated with artistic paintings and frescoes.

Camposanto Monumentale became the cemetery of choice for anyone with financial resources and the proper community connections in Pisa. This continued from the project’s completion in the late 1200s through about 1779 when the cloisters were filled with remains. The monument contained numerous monuments including many reused from the earlier Roman eras.

Visitors today see a Camposanto Monumentale reconstructed after the destruction of the monument by Allied bombs during the battle for Italy in 1944. The monument was rebuilt as closely as possible to the original although some of the art as well as some of the decorative sarcophagi that housed the bodies. The reconstructed monument managed to salvage more than 80 of these ancient funeral artifacts as well as some of the art. The rebuilt Camposanto Monumentale contains some of the most important pieces of early and renaissance period art displayed to the public anywhere in the world.

The Camposanto is located within the modern city of Pisa. On the same grounds are the Baptistry of St. John built in the 12th century. The Pisa Duomo also shares the grounds creating three major religious structures on the same grounds. The cathedral and the baptistery both lean slightly due to the unstable ground of the area although neither offers the noticeable angle of the Leaning Tower.

Guided tours of the religious and historic sites of the Pisa area are available. Some visitors choose to tour the area on foot or with the use of a rental car.