We prefer to approach the site from Piazza Manin on the west side of the Field of Miracles (Campo dei Miracoli) so that we remember that the Medici became rulers of Pisa in 1405 while Pisa declined as a Mediterranean power. As soon as one enters through the west wall, one sees on the left the four buildings of the complex . Equally one sees on the right about three blocks of vendors stalls selling miniature Leaning Towers and other items.
The Piazza del Duomo ("Cathedral Square") is a wide, walled area at the heart of the city of Pisa, recognized as one of the main centers for medieval art in the world. Partly paved and partly grassed, it is dominated by four great religious edifices: the Duomo (cathedral), the Campanile (the cathedral's free standing bell tower), the Baptistry and the Camposanto.
It is otherwise known as Piazza dei Miracoli ("Square of Miracles").
In 1987 the whole square was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can watch my 3 min 31 sec Video Pisa Piazza Miracoli out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
The square of miracles is a wide walled area where you will find the Leaning Tower aswell as a catherdral, baptistry and free standing bell tower.
Whatever time of day you go theres bound to pleanty of tourist there all taking the picture of themselves holding the tower up, the partly paved, partly grassed area is scattered with stalls selling all the normal touristy tat aswell as clothes and hand bags.
The cathedral cemetary dates back to the 12th Century. it was almost completely destroyed in WWII but has since been mostly painstakingly restored. What has been lost is a large percentage of the frescos that once covered the walls.
Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli, the "Field of Miracles", is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has to be one of the most stunning squares in the world. No matter that it is packed with tourists; its huge scale means that they – we – are all dwarfed by their surroundings and relatively easy to ignore. And what surroundings! Everyone has of course flocked here to see that Tower, but for me the majestic Cathedral and exquisite Baptistery were the stand-out attractions.
The square is located on the edge of the medieval city, not at its heart where you might expect to find its cathedral, and is right by the oldest early medieval city walls, built in 1155 and perfectly preserved. And if “field” conjures up a patch of green, that is exactly what you will find here, the perfect backdrop for the white marble of the various buildings.
By the way, if you come here first thing in the morning, you may not find the square deserted, but it will at least be quieter and you will be able to soak up some of the atmosphere, and take your photos, in relative calm.
On a practical note, the building on the south side is where you go to buy your entry tickets for the various buildings in the square. There are different combinations, depending on which, and how many, you want to visit. We paid €8 each for entry to the Cathedral, Baptistery and Camposanto. Add the Tower and you’ll pay €15, or visit the cathedral only for €5. Check the website below (Plan Your Visit section) for more options.
Piazza dei Miracoli - Square of Miracles is a wide, walled area at the heart of the city of Pisa. It is otherwise known as The Piazza del Duomo - Cathedral Square.
Partly paved and partly grassed, it is dominated by four great religious edifices: the Duomo, the Leaning Tower (the cathedral's campanile), the Baptistery and the Camposanto.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa - Torre pendente di Pisa is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure by time in Pisa's Piazza dei Miracoli.
Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction.
The height of the tower is 55.86 m from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m and at the top 2.48 m. The tower has 294 steps, the seventh floor has two less steps on the north-facing staircase. The tower leans at an angle of 3.97 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is 3.9 meters from where it would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical.
Duomo is the medieval cathedral, entitled to Santa Maria Assunta (St. Mary of the Assumption). This is a five-naved cathedral with a three-naved transept.
The church also contains the bones of St Ranieri, Pisa's patron saint, and the tomb of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII, carved by Tino da Camaino in 1315. That tomb, originally in the apse just behind the main altar, was disassembled and changed position many times during the years for political reasons. At last the sarcophagus is still in the Cathedral, but some of the statues were put in the Camposanto or in the top of the façade of the church. The original statues now are in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo.
The Baptistery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, stands opposite the west end of the Duomo. The round Romanesque building was begun in the mid 12th century. It was built in Romanesque style by an architect known as Diotisalvi (God Save You), who worked also in the church of the Holy Sepulchre in the city.
It is the largest baptistery in Italy. Its circumference measures 107.25 m. Taking into account the statue of St. John the Baptist (attributed to Turino di Sano) on top of the dome, it is even a few centimetres higher than the Leaning Tower.
The Camposanto monumentale (monumental cemetery) lies at the northern edge of the Square. It is a walled cemetery, which many claim is the most beautiful cemetery in the world. It is said to have been built around a shipload of sacred soil from Golgotha, brought back to Pisa from the Fourth Crusade by Ubaldo de' Lanfranchi, archbishop of Pisa in the 12th century.
It contained a huge collection of Roman sculptures and sarcophagi, but now there are only 84 left.
Aptly described as la Piazza dei Miracoli in 1910 by the Italian poet, Gabriele d'Annunzio, Piazza del Duomo is home to several miracles of Pisan architecture: il Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta, la Torre di Pisa, il Battistero di San Giovanni, and il Camposanto. The entire religious complex was listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1987 and is considered one of the most important examples of mediaeval architecture and a testament to the historic importance of the maritime Republic of Pisa. The Piazza is located at the north-western end of the city of Pisa, a position which seems marginal until one realises that in ancient times a navigable river once flowed around the piazza and provided direct access into the River Arno and then to the sea. The glaring whiteness of the marble façades of the edifices against lush green grass is best appreciated on a sunny day when the vivid blue skies make it all the more spectacular. Fortunately, the amazement of it all does make it easier to forget the presence of hordes of tourists who also happen to agree: this piazza is full of miracles.
[Note: Piazza dei Miracoli is often erroneously named Campo dei Miracoli (as in here on VT and in guidebooks). Campo dei Miracoli is in fact the Field of Miracles in the novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio.]
The mediaeval defensive walls around the historic centre of Pisa have survived mostly intact, and a section of it lies immediately to the north and west of Piazza del Duomo, where the city's grand monuments stand. In the north-western corner of this wall is a watchtower called Torre Santa Maria which dates from the original 12th century construction of the wall, and a little further south is Porta del Leone (Gate of the Lion), so named because of the white lion statue crowning it (see attached photos). Until the construction of Porta Nuova in the 16th century, Porta del Lione served as the main entrance into Piazza del Duomo.
Although officially called Porta Santa Maria, this monumental gateway through the city wall came to be known as Porta Nuova, i.e. the New Gate. "New" because it substituted the nearby Porta del Leone as the main access into Piazza del Duomo when it was constructed in 1562. The construction of Porta Nuova was funded by the Medici family and it continues to be the main access to the Piazza by tourists.
It was a 1,000 years ago that work began on the Romanesque style cathedral in the Campo dei Miracoli. It was constructed using coloured marble to a great extent. A fire in the 16th century rendered many of its priceless treasures damaged beyond repair, but with the help of some extremely talented Renaissance artists of the time, these were soon replaced and the church was restored. It is open to the public at the following times and there is a small admission charge:
April to September, daily - 08:00 to 20:00, March and October, daily - 09:00 to 18:00
November to February - Monday to Saturday 07:45 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 17:00, Sunday 07:45 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 18:00
The Piazza dei Miracoli ( "Square of Miracles") or Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) is a large walled area in the heart of the city of Pisa, Tuscany (Italy) renowned as one of the main centres medieval art in the world. . Partly paved and partly grassy, is dominated by four major religious buildings: The Duomo, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, (the bell tower of the cathedral), the Baptistry and the Camposanto
While everyone knows about the Leaning Tower, the Duomo and Baptistery are located next to the Tower and are interesting in their own right. make sure to visit the buildings to enjoy the architecture as well as the history contained within.
The bapistry tilts to the left, the Duomo leans forward towards the entrance but the tower leans at an impossible angle, it is amazing to think that it was even more pronounced before the resturations.
We first approached the Leaning Tower from the East so it was the only thing of the square that was visible. Walking up to it really is the most amazing thing and the tilt seems much more real when your standing at its base. Slowly moving around the tower reveals the Cathedral and beyond that the Baptistry, both outlined by the vast wall of the Cemetary.
The tipsy bell tower and the cathedral are by no means the only places of interest in the Piazza dei Miracoli. The Camposanto Monumentale, is arguably the most beautiful graveyard in the world. Lining the northern side of the Piazza dei Miracoli, the white marble walls of the Camposanto enclose a grassy courtyard surrounded by cloisters. Many of the crumbling tombstones here are Roman, with a collection of sarcophagi dating from the 14th century. The serene atmosphere is enhanced by the beautiful remains of frescoes that adorn the walls, though sadly these were badly damaged in a fire during the war.
The original designs, or sinopites for the frescoes in the Camposanto can be seen in the Sinopite Museum, or Museo delle Sinopie, across the other side of the piazza. These "preliminary sketches" were painted onto the plaster in red dye as an initial outline for the frescoes themselves. They were discovered when the frescoes were removed for restoration work following the 1944 fire.