Cathedral of St. Ranieri, Pisa, Italy

In the wide square known as Piazza del Duomo known as the Cathedral Square or Piazza dei Miracoli, the Duomo or Cathedral of St. Ranieri, Pisa, Italy is an impressive structure in Romanesque architectural style. People come from all over the world to admire the building as well as to see another building in the square, the famous Leaning Tower or bell tower. Admiring the architecture, visitors enter the cathedral for veneration and worship as well as for studying the design and history of the stunning piazza and Pisa.

The cathedral is laid out in the shape of the cross with the dome on the eastern end. While the structure is definitely built in the Romanesque style, hints of influence from the Bysantines show in the details of arches with points and interior mosaics. One of the most impressive mosaics that remained after the devastating Duomo fire of the late 1500s was “Christ in Majesty.” The ceiling is gilt and much of the beautiful interior was redecorated and filled with new art after the fire.

Cathedral of St. Ranieri, Pisa, ItalyAlso of interest is the use of marble in white and various other colors on the exterior and interior. The floors are quite elaborate and lovely. Because of the use of the light colored marble, the play of sunlight on the exterior changes breathtakingly as the sun travels across the sky.

Saint Ranieri is the patron saint of Pisa. He was born and lived much of his life in Pisa during the mid-1100s. He lived a spiritual life like a saint with only a little variance in when he was very young. Upon his death, Ranierius Scacceri was entombed in the cathedral that was in the process of construction in Piazza del Duomo in Piza where his casket was made into an elaborate shrine at the altar in the mid-1600s.

To visit and explore, the Cathedral is spectacular. The small entrance fee is definitely worthwhile. Inside is a museum and throughout the building are tombs of well-known people, amazing artwork and historic relics. This cathedral in this square in Pisa, Italy is one of the most beautiful churches on the planet.


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.


Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa Italy


One of the most iconic architectural structures of Italy is part of this famous Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa Italy or la Piazza del Duomo. That iconic building is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The historic piazza is spectacular with its lovely green grass and treasured architecture. The hallowed features of the piazza that draw visitors from all over the globe are the baptistery, the duomo, the bell tower and the cemetery.

People come to see this lovely place for many reasons from just desiring to step foot in such a famous location to needing to photograph the site for extra credit on a school report or multi-media presentation. When they arrive, the scenes before them are captivating. Therefore, visitors soon understand why the square is considered the most beautiful piazza in Italy and even the world.Duomo Pisa, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa Italy

This square has been a World Heritage Site since 1987. In Pisa, Italy, the spot is named la Piazza del Duomo or the “Cathedral Square.” However in 1910, an Italian author and poet wrote concerning the piazza describing it as a field of miracles under Heaven. The thought took hold and the piazza has become known as Piazza dei Miracoli.

Those visiting observe the Romanesque design style and the architectural details on the buildings’ exteriors and interiors. The Duomo was constructed starting in the mid-1060s. The Baptistery began rising in the mid-1100s. The Bell Tower, Campanile or the Leaning Tower of Pisa as it is better known was built in the late 1100s. Then, the Campo Santo or monumental cemetery building in Gothic style was constructed beginning in the late 1200s.

The spacious green grassy areas and the dominating historic structures are impressive. No matter how many people are in the square at the same time, no one feels crowded because of the immensity and the presence of the sacred edifices. Although the features are placed in opposition to the natural order of time as exists in the pathway of the sun across the sky from east to west, the west to east layout of the piazza represents the seasons of life.

Consequently, visitors can take the journey of birth to death as they tour the square. The baptistery represents birth, the duomo is the lifetime, the bell tower is like life’s culmination and the cemetery is death. The inspiring walk can bring new inspiration and perspective on living.


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.


Duomo, Pisa, Italy


The Leaning Tower of Pisa typically garners most of the attention of visitors who come to the city. The Duomo, Pisa however, represents a monumental architectural feat that deserves attention and recognition.

The structures exemplifies the beauty of Pisan Romanesque style. Construction began 1093, establishing the foundation for the artistic trend. Buscheto, the principal architect responsible for the structure, is buried to the left of the facade in the arch. Rainaldo, the architectural successor to Buscheto, constructed the facade.

Cathedral of St Ranieri, Duomo and Leaning Tower of Pisa, ItalyThe foundation level of the worship space features arcades with pastel marble and three openings with bronze doors. Four rows of arcades with stand above the structures with sensuous columns and arches of Moorish inspiration ascending to the summit.

The pupils of Giambologna cast the main door to the cathedral following the fire of 1595 that caused the destruction of the originals. Created by Bonnano Pisano in 1180, the original door of San Ranieri rests toward the south of the structure near the Leaning Tower. The Baroque bronze master Giambologna created the angels guarding the entry way to the choir section of the space. Andrea del Sarto painted the splendid St. Agnes with her Lamb in a Renaissance style.

Because of the fire in 1595 that destroyed most of the interior, much of it is decorated with Renaissance artwork and a few select medieval works that survived the inferno. The Tomb of Emperor Henry VII by Tino di Camaino is one of the surviving works located in the southern transpet as well as the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano. Ironically, after the fire, the pulpit had many detractors who thought that the piece was unsuited for the space. The pulpit, consequently, was dismantled and stored for approximately 400 years until it was rediscovered in the early 20th century and placed again for all to see.

Adjacent to the pulpit exists a low-hanging bronze lamp that Galileo supposedly observed during church services inspiring the law of the pendulum. History has proven, though, that the lamp in question was originally manufactured in 1586, years after Galileo had established his theory, though many believe another lamp had certainly hung in the space previously.

Filled with architectural and artistic splendor and historical intrigue, the Duomo is a site in Pisa that rivals the attraction and value of the Leaning Tower. Guests encounter a seminal space that provides a lens into the rich history of the city’s past.