Pisa, Italy: a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Field of Miracles, Campo dei Miracoli

We took the bus from Lucca to Pisa today (6 euros each for a round trip). It took about one hour to get there.  It was hot today; 86 degrees and humid.  Not the best time to sightsee but that is what the weather can be like here in Northern Italy.  The bus dropped us off right in front of the big gate into the “wide walled area located in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy, recognized as an important center of European medieval art and one of the finest architectural complexes in the world. Considered a sacred area by its owner, the Catholic Church, the square is dominated by four great religious edifices: the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery).” ( Wikipedia ).  Here is a photograph that I took as we entered the complex.Pisa field of miracles small This shows the Baptistry, the Duomo (cathedral) and the bell tower (the leaning tower) in the background.  We bought our tickets (8 euros each for all the buildings except the tower) and went to the baptistry first. It is the largest baptistry in Italy.  Pisa field of miracles baptistry small It was begun in 1153 but it was not finished until the 14th century.  The octagonal font at the center dates from 1246 and it is the largest one I have ever seen.  I climbed up to the top gallery to take a photo of it. Pisa field of miracles baptistry font smallThere is a statue of John the Baptist in the center and it is so deep that you can have an adult do full immersion.  The little side fonts were for babies.  The acoustics in the building are remarkable and every half an hour one of the staff sings in the center under the dome to demonstrate that.

We next went to the Duomo (cathedral).  Pisa field of miracles duomo small“The heart of the Piazza del Duomo is the Duomo, the medieval cathedral of the Archdiocese of Pisa, entitled to Santa Maria Assunta (St. Mary of the Assumption). This is a five-naved cathedral with a three-naved transept.” (Wikipedia)  It is stunningly big and beautiful.  They began building it in 1092.  Here is a photo of the inside, it is not that sharp because the inside of the church is dark;Pisa field of miracles duomo inside small  There is 
an impressive mosaic, in the apse of the church, of Christ in Majesty, flanked by the Blessed Virgin and St. John the Evangelist.  This mosaic sparkles even in the dim light of the church.Pisa field of miracles duomo apse mosaic  small
After the church we went to the Campo Santo or the Camposanto Monumentale ( monumental cemetery).Pisa field of miracles Campo Santo copy This cemetery was built over an earlier one. It is a huge, oblong Gothic cloister that was begun in 1278 .  It was completed in 1464.  There are 43 arches in the building.  Most of the tombs are marble slabs set into the floor. Pisa field of miracles campo santo inside small Like this one for a knight in 1413.Pisa field of miracles campo santo 1413 tomb small There are 84 Roman sarcophagi left in the halls. Pisa field of miracles Campo Santo roman tomb small
And finally we went to look at the famous leaning tower of Pisa.  It is actually the bell tower for the cathedral.  The 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.  But there were problems that began to show 5 years into the building by the time they reached the 3rd floor.   The subsoil was weak and there was a poor foundation so the tower was sinking on the south side.  So they left it alone for a century and the ground settled.  They eventually added 4 more floors and the tower was leaning by one degree in 1372.  In 1990 that had turned into 5.5 degrees and they closed the tower and took 10 years trying to figure out how to keep it from collapsing.  You can read about it online.  I actually climbed the tower when I visited Pisa in 1987 before it was closed.  David decided that he did not need the pleasure of the 300 stairs today so he passed up the opportunity ( it now costs 18 euros to climb and you only get 30 minutes to climb up and down).Pisa field of miracles leaning tower small They have stabilized it again and people can climb it now but who knows for how long?
We found a Subway in Pisa and had a sandwich before boarding our bus back home.  It was a great adventure and it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
 
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2 thoughts on “Pisa, Italy: a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Field of Miracles, Campo dei Miracoli

    • Thanks Catherine, you should go as soon as possible. The better shape you are in the easier it is to do. There are stairs everywhere and most of the time you must climb in order to see and do things. I thank God everyday that we can both still do that. More adventures to come.

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