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Pisa Cathedral

Listed under Sacred Places in Leghorn, Italy.

Photo of Pisa Cathedral
Photo by Martin Gray
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Begun in 1093, Pisa Cathedral (Duomo di Pisa) is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. Despite its proximity to the eye-catching and tourist-attracting Leaning Tower, the Duomo still dominates the monumental Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa.

The first stone of Pisa Cathedral was laid in 1093, initiating what would become the distinctive Pisan Romanesque style. The main architect was Buscheto, who is buried in the last blind arch on the left side of the facade. The facade itself was built by Buscheto's successor, Rainaldo.

A disastrous fire in 1595 destroyed most of the cathedral's medieval art, but some of the best Renaissance artists were hired for the redecoration work.

The fine marble facade of cathedral is in the "Pisan Romanesque" style that can also be seen in Lucca and other Tuscan cities. The bottom section has tall blind arcades with pastel-colored marble inlay and three portals with bronze doors. Above this are four rows of open arcades with delicate columns and Moorish-inspired arches, rising to the top of a gable that is much taller than the cathedral roof.

In summer, entrance is sometimes via the main door, which is one of three cast by students of Giambologna after the 1595 fire destroyed the originals. The usual entrance to the Duomo is in the south transept near the Leaning Tower, which is home to the original bronze Door of San Ranieri, cast by Bonnano Pisano in 1180 while he was working on the tower.

Continue reading on Sacred Destinations.

Written by  Martin Gray.

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