The Camposanto is Pisa’s Monumental Cemetery. Some say that it is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. I would have to agree. There is a sense of peacefulness and tranquility that takes over, once you enter this space. It is basically a cloister, with most of the tombs built into the walkway. Legend has it that it was built around a shipload of sacred soil that was brought to Pisa from Golgotha, in the 12th Century, during the Crusades. The walls of the Camposanto are lined with frescoes, the cartoons of which you can see in the Museo del Sinope. To be able to look at the cartoon and then actually see the finished fresco is fascinating! I love the Camposanto.
Many of the tombs incorporate the coat of arms of the family of the person buried there.
It was time to head over to the Campanile – or the leaning tower, as most people know it. As with any important monument, in this sad day and age, one has to go through a security check before entering the tower. This doesn’t take as long as one might think, because you are allowed to take NOTHING up with you. Women must check their handbags, and everyone must check backpacks, shopping bags, and any other type of item that you might carry. There is a good reason for this. The stairs are very narrow and go around in circles, and since the building is leaning, nothing is level! Carrying something up with you, even on your shoulder, could be dangerous.
The climb to the top is made up of 296 steps. Boy, is it ever worth it! The views of the city and the surrounding countryside are amazing!
Going down was a little tougher than going up, especially when having to pass people going in the opposite direction!
Since the Museo del opere del Duomo was closed for renovations, all that was left to see in the Campo was the Duomo, itself. This is Pisa’s main church. It was built in 1064 by Bruscheto. The bronze doors are by Giambologna. Inside of this church, Galileo came up with his theory about the movement of a pendulum by simply watching the swinging of the incense lamp which hangs from the nave of the church. Among the celebrated personalities entombed inside of the church are St. Ranieri – Pisa’s Patron Saint, and Henry VII.
Chances are that if you are in the Campo dei Miracoli, there will be tourists pretending to hold up the tower, for a photo. If only they knew how crazy they all look!!!!!
Naturally around the Campo are venders selling everything from miniature towers to masks.
The Cafe Ristoro Miami is a great little spot for lunch. They serve hot plates, salads, pizza, and even have live music on occasion!
Nearby is Largo del Parlascio with it’s ancient ruins.
Nothing is nicer than an afternoon walking through a park!
Back by the river, a group was demonstrating their dancing skills.
And on that note: it’s goodbye to Pisa! Next stop: the lovely Tuscan hilltown of Massa Marittima.