Piazza dei Miracoli

sights / Squares & plazas

Piazza dei Miracoli information

Pisa , Italy
More information
Leaning Tower €18, combination ticket: Battistero, Camposanto, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo & Museo delle Sinópie 1/2/3/4 sights €5/7/8/9 (reduced €3/4/5/6)
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Pisans claim that Campo dei Miracoli is among the most beautiful urban spaces in the world. Certainly, the immaculate walled lawns provide a gorgeous setting for the Cathedral, Baptistry and Tower; on the other hand, few places boast so many tat-waving hawkers.

Forming the centrepiece of the Campo's Romanesque trio, the candy-striped Cathedral (Duomo), begun in 1063, has a graceful tiered facade and cavernous interior. The transept's bronze doors are by Bonanno Pisano, and the 16th-century entrance doors are by Giambologna.

To the west, the cupcake-like Baptistry was started in 1153 and completed by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano in 1260. Inside, note Nicola Pisano's beautiful pulpit.

But it's to the campanile, better known as the Leaning Tower , that all eyes are drawn. Bonanno Pisano began building in 1173, but almost immediately his plans came a cropper in a layer of shifting soil. Only three of the tower's seven tiers were completed before it started tilting – continuing at a rate of about 1mm per year. By 1990 the lean had reached 5.5 degrees – a tenth of a degree beyond the critical point established by computer models. Stability was finally ensured in 1998 when a combination of biased weighting and soil drilling forced the tower into a safer position. Today it's almost 4.1m off the perpendicular.

Visits are limited to groups of 40 and children under eight years are not allowed entrance; entry times are staggered and queuing is predictably inevitable. It is wise to book ahead.

Flanking the Campo, beautiful Camposanto cemetery is said to contain soil shipped from Calvary during the Crusades. Look out for the 14th-century fresco The Triumph of Death on the southern cloister wall.