Highlights Pisa Destination Livorno Cruise Port | IQ Cruising

HIGHLIGHTS - Pisa

Top 7 Highlights in Pisa

Overview

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is undoubtedly the most famous highlight of the city to where most visitors flock upon arrival. Such is the fame of this tower that many visitors ignore the other 3 highlights next to it - the Cathedral, the Baptistery and Cemetery. These 3 religious sites that celebrate all stages of life stand in perfect harmony on the 'Piazza del Miracoli' and are worth more than just a superficial visit.

Beyond these, the 'Piazza dei Cavalieri' is another square where three spectacular landmarks are located - The Knights Palace, the Clock Palace and the Church of Saint Stephen. For those that wish to explore Pisa unique place in the History of Art, the 'Museo delle Sinopie' and the Museum of the Cathedral display exhibitions not to be missed.

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Piazza del Miracoli
(Field of Miracles)

Editor Points: Located in the walled area in the center of Pisa, this is considered one of the largest centers of medieval art in the world. It became known as the Square of Miracles after Italian writer Gabriele d’Annunzio described it as the meadow of Miracles. People often confuse it with the story of Pinocchio where the famous money tree would grow. The beauty created by the square and the surrounding building is what struck d’Annuzio as all of them seem to stand in perfect harmony. There are monuments for all stages of man’s life, the Baptistery celebrates birth while the Cathedral celebrates life and the Cemetery celebrates the life that has passed on. The frescoes and other art bring tourists from around the world to this famous square.

Photo of Piazza del Miracoli (Field of Miracles) in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

View from Porta Nuova Side, Pisa

Photo © IQCruising.com

WHERE: Historical Centre - it is officially named Piazza Duomo (Cathedral Square in English)

NOTES: The Piazza dei Miracoli, aka Field of Miracles, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Torre Pendente
(Leaning Tower)

Editor Points: The Tower of Pisa, now more famously known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is the freestanding bell tower associated with the cathedral of Pisa. The tower stands 55.86m (183.27 ft) from the ground to the top of the lower side of the tower and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) high on the tall side of the tower. In total, the inside of the tower features 296 or 294 steps as the seventh floor has two steps more on the south-facing staircase. The restoration that took place over 11 years corrected the lean of the tower from 5.5 degrees to 3.99 degrees, making it 3.9 m (12 ft, 10 in) from being perfectly vertical. The lean was caused due to insecure subsoil on one side.

Construction of the Tower of Pisa began in 1174. The second phase began in 1275 in an effort to fix the lean by constructing three more stories that would counterbalance the lean. Of course, the problem was not the weight but rather the foundation, so the fix caused the structure to lean more rapidly and at a greater angle. Tourists today still enjoy taking photos acting as though they are holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Photo of Torre Pendente, Leaning Tower, in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Torre Pendente aka Leaning Tower, Pisa

Photo © IQCruising.com

WHERE: Historical City - Piazza del Miracoli also known as Piazza del Duomo
Prices: €15.00 - tickets on-line for €17.00

NOTES: Climbing the tower requires a reservation-based ticket for 15 Euro. Expect 45 minutes to 2 hours wait, but there is a lot to see while you wait. It is better if you buy tickets on-line for €17 well in advance at Warning, the tickets are non-exchangeable, effectively non-refundable, and only good for the Torre, so they're a bit of a risk to purchase in advance. Curiosity: the famous Pisa leaning tower is not the only one, due of the marshy land that they are built on, there are other 2 towers in Pisa: the Bell Tower of San Nicola Church, near the banks of Arno and the Bell Tower of San Michele of Scalzi Church

Duomo
(Cathedral)

Editor Points: Construction on the famous Duomo began in 1064 by Busketo and was to be modeled after the unique Pisan Romanesque style of architecture. This meant incorporating mosaics on the interior as well as pointed arches to showcase the Byzantine influence of the region. The outside features gray marble and white stones. Inside the white stone, colored marble discs were inserted to add extra color to the overall structure. The doors are made of bronze and replaced the original doors destroyed by a fire in 1595. One of the most famous mosaics, Christ in Majesty, survived the fire and is flanked by St. John the Evangelist and the Blessed Virgin. Galileo supposedly formulated his pendulum movement theory here by watching an incense lamp hanging from the ceiling.

Photo of Duomo (Cathedral) in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Duomo (Cathedral) Pisa

Photo © IQCruising.com

WHERE: Historical City - Piazza del Miracoli also known as Piazza del Duomo
Address Piazza del Duomo
Open: Winter: 10:00 am - 12:45pm; 3.00 pm - 4:45pm (weekends)
March to November: 10:00 am -19.40; 1:00 pm -7:40 pm (weekends)
Closed: NA
Phone: (39) 050 560547
Entrance: FREE

NOTES: Artworks by Giambologna and Della Robbia. Apse mosaic partly by Cimbue; pulpit by Giovanni Pisano.

Battisterio di San Giovanni
(St. John's Baptistery)

Editor Points: Diotisalvi is the architect of the Baptistery of St. John and began construction in 1152 as a replacement to an older baptistery. The building was finished in 1363 in the Piazza dei Miracoli right in front of the Duomo. The original intent was for the Baptistery to be a pyramid shape but after the death of Diotisalvi, Nicola Pisano (father of Giovanni) continued the work as a more Gothic piece. The lintel of the building is divided into two tiers, the lower of which depicts several moments from St. John the Baptist’s life. The upper tier places Christ between the Madonna and St. John the Baptist as angels and evangelists surround him. A bronze sculpture sits in the center of the large interior, a piece made by Italo Griselli.

Photo of the Battisterio di San Giovanni St. John's Baptistery in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Baptistery, Pisa

Photo © IQCruising.com

WHERE: Historical City - Piazza del Miracoli also known as Piazza del Duomo
Open: Winter: 9:00 am - 4:40 pm; Spring and Autumn: 9:00 am - 5.40 pm
Summer: 8:00 am - 7.40 pm
Closed: January 1st, December 25
Address Piazza del Duomo
Phone: (39) 050 560547
Entrance: FREE

NOTES: Large round Romanesque dome with many sculptured decorations and a fine view up top; climb this if you want a great view with the Leaning Tower in your photos. Arabic-style pavement, pulpit by Nicola Pisano (father of Giovanni), and fine octagonal font. At regular intervals, the ticket-checker-guard at the entrance comes into the baptistery and gives an audio-treat of echo-effect. The guard shouts out few sounds which when echoed sound like pure beautiful music. Do not miss it. You can also cast your inhibitions to the wind, stand by the wall, and sing long notes that turn into chords by yourself, as the echoes go round and round the dome of the building.

Museo delle Sinopie
(Museum of Sinopias)

Editor Points: This museum sits in the wing of the old hospital. The famous sinopias are made of red earth pigment from Sinope, Turkey. The drawings were built directly into the wall and then covered with a layer of sand to permanently hide them. Many artists took part in building the sinopias including Piero di Puccio, Gozzoli, Taddeo, Traini, and Spinello Arentino. There are placards in front of each 'sinopie' so you can see how the work once looked. Each artist employed a different technique when incorporating the sinopia stage of the process. Some used the earth early on in the process, others just in outlines, while a few used it for shading more prominent points in the artwork.

Photo of Museo delle Sinopie entrance in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Entrance of Museo delle Sinopie, Pisa

Photo © IQCruising.com

WHERE: Historical City - Piazza del Miracoli also known as Piazza del Duomo
Address Piazza del Duomo
Open: Winter: 9:00 am - noon / 3:00 pm - 4:40 pm; Spring and Autumn: 9:00 am - 5.40 pm
Summer: 8:00 am - 7.40 pm
Closed: January 1st, December 25

NOTES: Skipped over by many visitors, this museum is a treat for art lovers. After WWII many of the surviving murals and pieces of murals from Pisa's Campo Santo were detached from the walls to try to preserve them. It was unexpectedly discovered that the artist sketches underneath survived. These were moved to this extraordinary museum.

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
(Museum of the Cathedral's Works)

Editor Points: This museum is in the building once used for the Convent of the Cappuccinos. It now stores sculptures, paintings and other art from the ecclesiastical buildings located on Piazza del Duomo. From frescoes to sculptures, you will find a wide array of art when walking the halls. You can also see the cathedral canons that date from the 12th to the 17th centuries. One of the main highlights is Giovanni Pisano’s Madonna and child carving made of ivory in 1300. Islamic art is also evident, including the griffin that once sat atop the cathedral. It is considered a 10th-century hippogriff - a mythical creature with the body of a horse and the wings and head of an eagle.

Photo of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Cathedral's Works) in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Cathedral's Museum, Pisa

WHERE: Historical Centre - on Piazza contiguous to Piazza Duomo
Address Piazza Arcivescovado, 8
Open: Winter: 9:00 am - 4:20 pm; Spring and Autumn: 9:00 am - 5.40 pm
Summer: 8:00 am - 7.20 pm
Closed: January 1st, December 25
Phone: (39) 050 560547

Camposanto Vecchio
(Old Cemetery)

Editor Points: This cemetery sits on the northern edge of Cathedral Square. It is literally translated as “holy field” and is said to be made of a shipload of sacred soil from Golgotha. The soil was brought back to Pisa from the Fourth Crusade by archbishop de’Lanfranchi. The oblong Gothic cloister was designed in 1278 by the famous Giovanni di Simone. However, he died just six years later in a naval battle. The cemetery was not completed until 1464.

The perimeter wall features 43 arches with two doorways. The doorway on the right features a Gothic tabernacle and contains the Virgin Mary surrounded by saints. This was the original door to the tombs. The entire cemetery features three chapels, the oldest being Ammannati built in 1360.

Photo of Camposanto Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Camposanto, Pisa

Jean Christophe Benoist CC-by-SA

WHERE: Historical City - Piazza del Miracoli also known as Piazza del Duomo
Open: Winter: 9:00 am - 4:40 pm; Spring and Autumn: 9:00 am - 5.40 pm
Summer: 8:00 am - 7.40 pm
Closed: January 1st, December 25
Address Piazza del Duomo
Phone: (39) 050 560547

Piazza dei Cavalieri
(The Knights Square)

Editor Points: This monumental square is seldom included on shore excursions organized by most cruise lines. Not far from Piazza dei Miracoli and the Leaning Tower, a mere 5-minute walk, this is where three famous landmarks are located - The Knights Palace, the Clock Palace and the Church of Saint Stephen, all reviewed and highlighted on the religious and landmark pages.

Photo of engraving of the Piazza dei Cavalieri Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Piazza dei Cavalieri (engraving), Pisa

Photo: Public Domain

WHERE: Historical City - no more than a 5-minute walk from Piazza del Miracoli

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Last Update: July 9, 2016

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