battistero duomo & leaning tower of pisa tuscany italy

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Top choice in Pisa

Pisa's unusual round baptistry has one dome piled on top of another, each roofed half in lead, half in tiles, and topped by a gilt bronze John the Baptist (1395). Construction began in 1152, but it was remodelled and continued by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano more than a century later and finally completed in the 14th century. Inside, the hexagonal marble pulpit (1260) by Nicola Pisano is the highlight.

The lower level of arcades is Pisan-Romanesque; the pinnacled upper section and dome are Gothic.

Pisan scientist Galileo Galilei (who, so the story goes, came up with the laws of the pendulum by watching a lamp in Pisa's cathedral swing), was baptised in the octagonal font (1246). Don't leave without climbing to the Upper Gallery to listen to the custodian demonstrate the double dome's remarkable acoustics and echo effects, every half-hour on the hour/half-hour.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Pisa attractions

1. Camposanto

0.06 MILES

Soil shipped from Calvary during the Crusades is said to lie within the white walls of this hauntingly beautiful resting place for many prominent Pisans,…

2. Museo delle Sinopie

0.07 MILES

Home to some fascinating frescoes, this museum safeguards several sinopie (preliminary sketches), drawn by the artists in red earth pigment on the walls…

3. Mura di Pisa (Main Entrance)

0.08 MILES

For an alternative bird's-eye perspective of the Leaning Tower and grandiose Piazza dei Miracoli rooftops, take a walk atop Pisa's medieval city walls,…

4. Duomo

0.09 MILES

Pisa's magnificent duomo was begun in 1064 and consecrated in 1118. Its striking tiered exterior, with green-and-cream marble cladding, gives onto a…

5. Piazza dei Miracoli

0.13 MILES

Pisans claim that Campo dei Miracoli is among the world's most beautiful urban spaces. Its walled lawns provide a photogenic setting for the candy-striped…

6. Leaning Tower

0.13 MILES

One of Italy's signature sights, the Torre Pendente truly lives up to its name, leaning a startling 3.9 degrees off the vertical. The 58m-high tower,…

7. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

0.16 MILES

Closed for extensive (seemingly everlasting) renovation, this museum is a repository for works of art once displayed in the duomo and battistero…

8. Orto e Museo Botanico

0.31 MILES

For a Zen-like respite from the Piazza dei Miracoli crowd, explore this peaceful walled garden laced with centurion palm trees, flora typical to the…