The Cattedrale di Pisa is supposed to be the star attraction of the Piazza Dei Duomo but it is eclipsed by it's more famous bell tower, the campanile (the leaning tower of Pisa) that made the city famous around the world. This huge cathedral was started 1064 but was finished in 1093 and designed by Architect Buschetto into the Pisan Romanesque style prevalent during those times. the cathedral was partially damaged in 1595 but was renovated. It is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (St. Mary of the Assumption). The cathedral has a large knave with two central aisles and several side chapels .
entrance to the Cathedral is free
November, December, January & February: 10am to 12.45pm & 2pm to 5pm
March: 10am to 6pm
April to September: 10am to 8pm
October: 10am to 7pm
The heart of the Piazza dei Miracoli is for sure the Duomo di Pisa. We were pleased and excited to enter this medieval cathedral. This building is as beautiful at the inside as it is on the outside. Do keep in mind that ladies need their shoulders covered. Its construction began in 1064 and we saw that the mosaics of the interior as well as the pointed arches showed a strong Byzantine influence. The ceiling is stunning and ends in a fabulous golden mosaic over the apse. Keep in mind that the ceiling was largely redecorated after a fire in 1595, which destroyed most of the Renaissance art works.
A nice detail is the present day reconstruction of the pulpit, which official is not the correct one. Now it lies not in the same original position, that was nearer the main altar, and the disposition of the columns and the panels are not the original ones. Also the original stairs (maybe in marble) were lost. But still it leaves so much to admire, like some relics that were brought during the Crusades, and I am not able to mention it all in this tip though. A must visit once you are in Pisa!
During our visit to the city of Pisa we were quite late when we first arrived at the Piazza dei Miracoli, but we were still allowed to enter it. A huge advantage of our late arrival was the fact that there were almost no tourists left at all and we were able to move around rather easily. Whenever we visit a church the kids always want to burn a candle, it has become a bit of a tradition. The sight of burning votive candles - real or electronic - is common in most Catholic cathedrals. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?
According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball, the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights. Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means "waiting" or "watching") are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed. So for us lighting a candle is a way of extending our prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf our prayer is offered.
Maybe it is not honest at all, but not many people come to Pisa for the Duomo di Pisa. We all are mostly interested in the famous leaning tower and therefore we travel to Pisa in the first place. They started building this cathedral in 1093 and is truly a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. Despite its nearness to the eye-catching and tourist-attracting leaning tower, the Duomo di Pisa still dominates the monumental Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa. This was quite an awareness when we entered the famous square. My field of view immediately was attracted to the Duomo die Pisa instead of the leaning tower.
Of course for our kids we first made some pictures of the leaning tower, but after that I was mostly interested in visiting the Duomo di Pisa. We learned that we needed an entrance ticket before entering the Duomo di Pisa. We bought one and were very excited to enter this amazing Pisa Cathedral. It really the inside that took our breath away. The artworks are simply stunning and worth visiting Pisa for alone.
This is the amazing cathedral next to the leaning tower of Pisa. The interior is spectacular with frescoes and detailed architecture. Even the bronze doors are beautiful. Next to the cathedral is a smaller round Romanesque building. That is the Baptistery, dedicated to St. John, the Baptist. It is the largest baptistery in Italy. A "must see" if you are in Pisa.
Please see my travelogue for more photos of the church!
The Cathedral of Pisa is located in the center of the Campo dei Miracoli . The medieval Cathedral has the shape of a basilica five arches and is dedicated to Mary
The construction began in 1064, under the supervision of the architect Buscheto, his tomb is built into the leftmost arch of the facade, after the death of Buscheto , Rainaldo took over the Duomo was funded with the loot that the Pisans had won when they defeated the Saracens
The building had to show how rich and powerful Pisa was, the floor plan of the church is a Latin cross
The Duomo is a wonderful example of the Pisan - Romanesque style, the interior is lined with black and white marble, in 1595 , after a violent fire , most of the medieval art destroyed, the mosaic in the apse , Christ in Majesty , is a relic from 1302, the magnificent pulpit from 1302, also survived the fire , is a masterpiece of Giovanni Pisano
This chair you see nine scenes from the New Testament , of white marble carved with chiaroscuro effect
The Cathedral is also the mummified body of Ranieri , the patron saint of Pisa and the tomb of the Roman emperor Henry VII
The pulpit of the Duomo is the most important piece of sculpture in the church, It is the work of Giovanni Pisano done between 1302 and 1311. He was the son of Nicola who created the pulpit of the Baptistry. The sculpture was dismantled in 1599 after a fire in the church. The sculpture was only reconstructed in 1926. It is remarkable that such a fine work could be considered to be worthless for so long.
The cathedral is probably the longest one started in the 11th century. The Duomo was started in 1063 and is almost 100 meters long. This first medieval church laid out in the shape of a cross. It is also extremely wide (48 ft) with a nave and 4 aisles, a plan not used since early Christian times. The nave is lined by 68 granite columns, almost all with Corinthian capitals. There are galleries above the aisles and along the transepts with apses at the ends of each transept as well as at the east end of the church. There are only small clerestory windows above.
The Cathedral in Cathedral Square is amazing. Just to look at the intricate carvings on the outside of the building will take time to absorb the beauty.
Inside, the Cathedral is beautiful and deserves your time to enjoy.
The heart of the Piazza del Duomo is the Duomo, the medieval cathedral, entitled to Santa Maria Assunta (St. Mary of the Assumption). This is a five-naved cathedral with a three-naved transept.
Construction was begun in 1064 by the architect Busketo, and set the model for the distinctive Pisan Romanesque style of architecture. The mosaics of the interior, as well as the pointed arches, show a strong Byzantine influence.
The façade, of grey marble and white stone set with discs of coloured marble, was built by a master named Rainaldo, as indicated by an inscription above the middle door: Rainaldus prudens operator.
From November to February 10:00-13:00/15.00-17.00; March 10:00-18:00 (until 13/3) 10:00-19:00 (until 20/3) 10:00-20:00 (from 21/3); from April to September 10:00-20:00; October 10:00-19:00
The entrance is allowed 30 minutes before closing time. On holidays the Cathedral opens at 13:00.
Mass hours: Weekdays 8:00, 9:30; Sunday 8:00, 9:30, 11:00
School groups: 1,00 euro
Entry is free from 1 November to 1 March
For further information:
Tel: +39 050 560547/561820
Fax: +39 050 560505
You can watch my 3 min 41 sec Video Pisa Dome out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
The Duomo may be hugely impressive, but do take the time to walk around its exterior.
Look carefully at its lower stones. You will not only see ancient inscriptions relating to those who are buried nearby, and some ancient graffiti, but also re-used Roman stonework, its inscriptions always inverted to show the dominance of the Christian church over 'pagan' Rome.
And check the high-up windows too, because there is some lovely and intricate marble mosaic-work to be seen.
Always look closely...you never know what you'll see !
See my 'small details' tip for the Tower as well.
The Cathedral was the 1st building here, planned by Buschetto di Giovanni and built almost a century before its Campanile.
It’s dedicated to the Virgin.
The Cathedral houses several masterpieces, including the mosaics of Christ with the Virgin and the Baptist, the work of Cimabue and Lapo, and the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano.
Inside, there used to be a huge bronze incense burner that helped Galileo formulate the theory of the movement of the pendulum.