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Train from Florence to Pisa

Painting by American artist Keith Haring in 1989. He brought NYC graffiti into the mainstream. This painting is a celebration of diversity, chaos and liveliness of our world.

Corso Italia - the main shopping street in Pisa

Piazza della Vettovaglie

Note the curve in the building.

Open air produce market on Piazza della Vettovaglie.

Zucchini flowers are delicious when breaded and served as an appetizer.


The Arno River

The Duomo and Baptistry

The buildings are constructed from bright white marble in a style called Pisan Romanesque which is lighter and more elegant than traditional Romanesque.

Camposanto Cemetery

The site has been a cemetery since ancient times. The open air courtyard is surrounded by an arcade with intricately carved arches.

The courtyard's grass grows on special dirt shipped here by returning Crusaders from Jerusalem's Mount Calvary where Christ was crucified. It is said to turn a body into bones in a single day!

The arcade floor is paved with the coats of arms of some 600 departed Pisans.

Displayed in the arcade are dozens of ancient Roman sarcophagi.

The brick walls are covered with traces of fresco.



Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Tower is nearly 200 feet tall and 55 feet wide. It is currently leaning at a five degree angle (15 feet off the vertical axis.) after years of work. to stablize it.

The Tower started to lean almost immediately after construction began in 1173. It was built over two centuries by at least three different architects. Each tried to correct the leaning problem, once at the fourth story and once at the belfry on top.
To climb to the top of the Tower, you wind your way up along a spiraling staircase that has been worn by previous tourists! Due to the slant of the tower, the 294 steps are also slanted and the marble can be slippery.
Looking down through the center of the tower and the bells in the belfry.
View of the Duomo and Baptistry from the top of the Tower
It is said that Galileo dropped objects off the Tower in attempts to understand gravity.

Pisa's Baptistry is Italy's biggest. The building was begun in 1153. It was actually built in three sections - the Romanesque blind arches at the base in 1153, the ornate Gothic spires and pointed arches in the middle in 1250 and the Renaissance dome in the 15th century.

The Baptistry is 180 ft. tall. It actually leans about 6 feet.

Interior of Baptistry

The acoustics are so good in here that sound echoes for a good 10 seconds. This is due to the 250 foot wide dome. It is said that a priest standing at the baptismal font can sing three tones within the 10 seconds and make a chord, thus harmonizing with himself.

Nicola Pisano's Pulpit, built in 1260, is 15 feet tall. The speaker's platform stands on columns that rest on the backs of animals, representing Christianity's triumph over paganism.

The relief panels are scenes from the life of Christ done in white Carrara marble and framed by dark rose colored marble.

Baptismal Font

Baptismal fonts are traditionally octagons. The shape suggests a cross and eight sides represent the 8th day of Christ's ordeal when he was resurrected. The font has plenty of space for baptizing adults by immersion, plus four wells for dunking babies. The sides are carved with inlaid multicolored marble and feature circle in a square patterns indicating the interlocking of heaven and earth.


This huge Romanesque cathedral is artistically more important than its more famous bell tower. It was begun in 1063 and financed by booty ransacked from the Muslim-held capital of Palermo, Sicily.

Bronze Doors of St. Ranieri

Designed by Bonanno Pisano around 1186.

The 320 foot nave of the Duomo was the longest in Christendom when it was built.
One of the side altars.

Galileo's Lamp

Hanging from the ceiling is the one that caught teenage Galileo's attention one day in church. Someone left a door open and a gust of wind set the lamp swinging. Galileo timed the swings and realized the the burner swung back and forth in the same amount of time regardless of how wide the arc.


Carved out of white Carrara marble by Giovanni Pisano (son of Nicola) between 1301 and 1311. It was the last, biggest and most complex of the four pulpits by the Pisano father and son team. 400 intricately sculpted figures smother the pulpit. The relief panels are actually curved and tell the story of Christ's life.

Four of the pulpit's support columns are statues. This one is Hercules, standing nude and holding his club and lion skin.
Lady Church suckles the babies of the Old and New Testaments.
The mosaic (c.1300) shows Christ as the Ruler of All (Pantocrator) between Mary and John the Evangelist.


To learn more about our visit to Pisa, go to the Pisa Newsletter.

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