Italy for Beginners
Every journey involves possible pitfalls that can lead to awkward situations or unexpected expenses when things go really bad.
One of the most famous architectonic symbols is the Tower of Pisa. It attracts tourists from all over the world and we are sure that nobody has ever visited Tuscany without dropping in to see the incredible Leaning Tower situated in Piazza dei Miracoli.
The Dome square represents the most important artistic and touristic centre in the city of Pisa, when you enter it you have the impression of stepping into another world, an idyllic world characterized by three colours: the bright green of the grass, the pure white of the monuments and the clouds and the light blue of the sky.
This is the perfect place to admire the most important monuments that characterized the religious, named “miracles” by the writer Gabriele d’Annunzio who was impressed by their incredible beauties. This idea spread especially in the post war period and it gave its name to the square: “Piazza dei Miracoli” which literally means “Square of miracles”. This square was declared heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 1987 and it comprises: the Cathedral, the Baptistry, the bell tower and the cemetery.
Unlike other cities, in Pisa the Dome is not located in the old town centre but it is situated in a decentralised part of the city and this feature is due to the expansion of the old early medieval town. The square was present even during the Etruscan and roman ages. According to some records, it was after the fall of the Western Roman Empire that its usage was changed: from holy to civil. Anyway, the process that leads to the image of square that we can admire today started in 1063 (1064 according to the Pisa Calendar, but do not worry we will deal with this in another post!).
The Dome, which is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, was the first monument of the square and it was created in 1063. The Baptistry, that is dedicated to San Giovanni Battista, replaces a smaller building located in the north area of the Dome, and it was completed in August 1153.
The construction of the leaning Tower started in 1173 and it ended 200 years later, in 1350. It took a long time because they soon found out that the marshy ground could not bear the weight of the building and this is why the tower leans. After the construction of the third floor, the works were interrupted and only in 1275 two builders dared to build three other floors and they built them in the opposite direction. Indeed, if you stay behind the tower you can notice that it is not leaned but a little bit curved as a banana, and that is why the tower is still standing today.
The Campo Santo is a graveyard, its construction started in 1278 and for some complications it ended in 1464. According to a legend, it is believed that it arose around a piece of ground brought from the Holy Land.
In 1257 the Hospital of Santo Spirito was added to the square and it was available for pilgrims and tourists. It is incredible how the monuments that you can admire in this square retrace every moment of the human life: the hospital represents birth, the square represents life and obviously the churchyard represents death.
Entering the square, you can admire not only the breath-taking historical monuments, but also many people standing in weird positions. At first glance it may seems crazy, but looking from the right perspective you can easily understand what they are doing and we are sure that you will join them pretending that you hold up the Tower for a memorable picture!