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.


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