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VISIT PISA

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The leaning tower

The leaning Tower

The world-famous Leaning Tower is the symbol of the city of Pisa. Its construction was begun in 1173 under the direction of Bonnano. After only a few years, when the 3 lower floors were just finished, cause a fundamental break the tower had already a slant to south-east. This is based on the underground, which deform under the weight over time. Subsequently, the building has been suspended for about 100 years. To offset the imbalance, the subsequent 4 floors were built diagonally. Then, the construction had to be interrupted again, until the belfry has been finally finished in 1372. The tower is 54 meters high and has seven bells, that could not ring for al long time because of danger. Recent discoveries show that the tower is located on the edge of a former island next to an ancient port, that has been already shipped in the construction period. Meanwhile, the imbalance of the tower already 4.43 degrees. Citizens and scientists are trying since a long time to find a solution for the problem of the monument. In 1987, the tower, together with the Baptistery and the adjacent Cathedral of the UNESCO World Heritage explained.

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The Baptistery

The Baptistery

Standing across from the Duomo, the Battistero was built between the 12th and 14th centuries, and its architecture reflects the passage from the Romanesque to the Gothic style during those years. It is the largest Baptistery in Italy and is actually taller – counting the statue on top – than the famous Leaning Tower. The exterior was once richly decorated with Giovanni Pisano’s statues, but many have been removed to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo for safekeeping, and only a few were replaced with plaster casts. Inside is a hexagonal pulpit carved by Nicola Pisano (father of Giovanni) between 1255 and 1260 and a baptismal fontcarved and inlaid by Guido Bigarelli da Como.

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The Duomo

Duomo of Pisa

The majesty of Pisa’s duomo made it a model for Romanesque churches throughout Toscana and even on Sardinia. Begun in 1064, it is covered inside and out with the alternating band of dark green and cream marble that were to become characteristic of the Pisan-Romanesque style. The main façade, when not hidden by scaffolding, is a sight to behold, adorned as it is with four tiers of columns. The huge interior is lined with 68 columns in classical style. The bronze doors of the transept, facing the Leaning Tower, are by Bonanno Pisano. The 16th century bronze doors of the main entrance were designed by the school of Giambologna to replace the wooden originals, destroyed in a fire in 1596. The interior was also greatly redecorated after this devastating fire. Important works to survive the blaze include Giovanni Pisano’s early 14th century pulpit and an apse mosaic of Christ in Majesty completed by Cimabue in 1302.

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The cemetery

The cemetery

On the edge of Piazza del Duomo stands the beautiful wall of the cemetery (camposanto). Designed by Giovanni di Simone and built in 1278, this monumental cemetery has been the burial ground for Pisa’s constables, and you can find sarcophagi, statues, and marble bas-reliefs here. The dirt used in the cemetery isn’t common dirt but holy dirt from Golgotha in Palestine – where Christ was crucified – brought back by ship after a Crusade. During roof caught fire, most of the magnificent frescoes were destroyed. Parts of the frescoes that were salvaged – particularly interesting are the Triumph of Death and the Last Judgment - are exhibited inside, along with photographs showing the Camposanto before the destruction.

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