Pisa

Pisa


Pisa is world famous for its Leaning Tower. It is situated alongside the Duomo and Baptistery on the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). Most buildings in the area around the Campo were built during Pisa's golden age, the 12th and 13th centuries. In that time Pisa was still a port an of great importance.

Construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa began in 1173. Tilting began even before the tower was completed. When only three of its eight stories were finished, subsidence disrupted the tower's foundations. All building activities were immediately postponed and for 180 years a whole score of architects tried to correct the fault. Around 1350 Tomasso di Andrea da Pontedera completed the tower despite of its tilt. The tower continued tilting and in the 1990's the overhang reached almost 5 meters, the limit for collapse. A rescue operation was started and the tower was closed to all public for a decade. In 2001 it was reopened after the tilt was reduced several degrees.

The Duomo of Pisa is adjacent to the tower. Construction of the Duomo began in the 11th century and it set a model for Pisa's highly distinctive brand of Romanesque. A delicate balance of white and black marble was used and it has long arcades of columns. There is a museum inside that has an interesting display of Renaissance artworks.

The frescoes in the circular Baptistery were partly destroyed during WWII, but several survived unscratched. They include a fourteenth-century Triumph of Death and Last Judgement in the Cappella Ammanati, a ruthless catalogue of horrors painted around the time of the Black Death. A cloistered cemetery built towards the end of the thirteenth century is nearby.

Away from the Campo dei Miracoli, Pisa is a completely different town. A quiet place, eerily so at night, set about a series of erratic squares and arcaded streets. There are numerous Romanesque churches and, along the banks of the Arno, a number of fine palazzi. The Piazza dei Cavalieri is the large square that used to be the center of medieval Pisa.

There are numerous hotels and restaurants in Pisa, as well as in nearby Marina di Pisa. Pisa is 260 km northwest of Rome.

Useful Links

www.pisaonline.it/Pisa/photos/default.htm

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