Camposanto, also known as the Camposanto Monumentale, is a historic cemetery in Pisa, Italy.
The Camposanto is situated within the Piazza dei Miracoli, which also houses the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pisa Cathedral, and the Pisa Baptistery.
With its origins dating back to the 13th century, this remarkable site is renowned for its architectural beauty and cultural significance. The Camposanto is a massive, oblong, stunning example of Gothic design.
It has been built with 43 blind arches on the exterior wall, and aesthetic splendor and exquisite details attract many tourists.
The Camposanto Vecchio, or “ancient cemetery,” is another name for the Camposanto Monumentale (monumental cemetery).
The cemetery has three chapels, and the artistic beauty with exquisite detailing makes it an elementary sight for every tourist.
The oldest is Chapel Ammannati, named after Ligo Ammannati, a professor at the University of Pisa.
Other chapels include the Aulla chapel, built in 1518 by Giovanni della Robbia, and the Dal Pozzo chapel, built in 1594 by Carlo Antonio Dal Pozzo, archbishop of Pisa.
The building was converted into a museum, with its walls engraved with Roman epigraphs and the sarcophagi relocated to the corridors, where they now serve as valuable historical and artistic documents.
The building’s use as a museum began in the early nineteenth century when it became one of Europe’s first public museums.
During the years when Napoleon ordered that many works of art be removed from churches and taken to France, Carlo Lasinio was appointed Curator of the Camposanto by Maria Luisa, Queen of Etruria.
He collected sculptures and paintings from the city’s suppressed churches and convents.
Meanwhile, commemorative and funerary monuments to city notables continued to be built in the corridors and renamed galleries.
The frescoes allow visitors and admirers to appreciate Camposanto’s incomparable beauty fully.
Visiting the cemetery is a must for everyone who wishes to experience Tuscany’s true splendor.
Explore the historic Camposanto with this exclusive Combination ticket, which also grants you access to all monuments in the Square of Miracles.
Camposanto Opening Hours
The Pisa Camposanto opening hours vary depending on the time of year.
During the peak tourist season, typically from April to September, the cemetery welcomes visitors seven days a week from 8 am to 8 pm.
These extended hours accommodate the influx of tourists eager to explore Pisa’s world-famous landmarks.
The opening hours are slightly reduced from October to March.
The Camposanto opens at 9 am and closes at 5.30 pm during this period.
These winter hours ensure visitors have ample time to appreciate the cemetery’s beauty and collection of art and sculptures, even in the quieter months.
Keep in mind that the opening hours may be subject to change on national holidays or during special events.
Hence, checking the official website for the most up-to-date information is advisable.
As one of Pisa’s most iconic landmarks, the Camposanto continues to captivate visitors with its rich history and serene beauty.
Find the detailed Camposanto timings below.
|1 November||9 am to 6 pm|
|22 December to 6 January||9 am to 6 pm|
|February||10 am to 5 pm|
|March||9 am to 6 pm|
|23 March to 29 March||9 am to 7 pm|
|April||8 am to 8 pm|
|17 June to 31 August||8 am to 10 pm|
|September||8 am to 8 pm|
|October||9 am to 7 pm|
|27 October to 1 November||9 am to 6 pm|
How to reach Camposanto
The Camposanto is located in Piazza del Duomo, 17, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy.
The Piazza dei Miracoli is about a mile (1.5 kilometers) north of Pisa’s train station, which trains daily to Rome, Florence, and Venice.
You can also walk through Pisa’s historic center or take a bus to Piazza dei Miracoli from the train station.
Buses 21 and 4 are available.
Camposanto, which serves as a backdrop to the Cathedral on its north side, was the final monument to be constructed, beginning in 1278 under Giovanni di Simone.
The building’s construction was finally finished in the 16th century.
The cemetery was constructed on sacred soil returned to Pisa after the Third Crusade in the 12th century, and legend has it that this holy earth can reduce bodies to skeletons within a day of burial.
The cemetery is worth visiting for what remains of its fresco cycle and Roman sarcophagi, in addition to its Pisan Romanesque architecture.
Legend named it Camposanto due to the belief that Pisan ships returning from the Third Crusade mixed soil from the Holy Land with the ground here.
Architects designed this massive structure to accommodate the sarcophagi and other graves clustered around the Cathedral for centuries.
As a result, Bishop Federico Visconti signed an act of donating this land in 1277 to build “an enclosed space” for use as a cemetery.
Initially, it took the form of a church dedicated to the Trinity.
Pisa’s defeat in the Battle of the Meloria partially halted the work; when resumed in the 1300s, the building assumed its nearly perfectly rectangular form with a central cloister.
The exterior walls are plain white marble, featuring 43 blind arches and two doors.
The main entrance is through the east door; above is a Gothic tabernacle carved in the second half of the 14th century with a statue of the Virgin and Child and four saints.
Many of the tombs are located beneath the arcade, with a few scattered throughout the central lawn.
Corridors with intricately carved Gothic arches surround the cloister.
Wood carvings decorate the Roman sarcophagi in the corridors, which were once used to bury important people.
After the Genovese army defeated Pisa at Meloria in 1284, the victors returned this chain to their hometown. It was only returned after Italy’s unification.
Work on frescos along the corridor walls began in 1360, with the subjects connected to the theme of life and death.
Among the works on display are those by Buonamico Buffalmacco and Francesco Traini, who wrote the famous Triumph of Death and the latter of A Crucifix.
The Aulla chapel houses “Galileo’s lamp,” which once hung in the Cathedral and inspired Galileo’s theory of the pendulum.
A massive chain hanging on the wall is one of those that closed the Porto Pisano entrance.
Following Pisa’s defeat at the Meloria in 1284, the chains were broken and shipped to Genoa, only to be returned after Italy was reunited.
The main structure of the cemetery is an impressive cloister, or “campo santo” in Italian, surrounded by elegant arches and embellished with exquisite frescoes.
These 14th and 15th-century frescoes depict various religious and historical scenes, adding to the cemetery’s artistic and historical value.
Visitors will come across numerous tombstones and funerary monuments as they walk through the Camposanto, each with a story and creative flair.
The cemetery is the final resting place for many notable figures, including Pisan nobles, artists, and scholars, making it a must-see for history buffs.
However, most of these were damaged or destroyed during the World War II bombardment on July 27, 1944.
Slowly, restoration work has been completed to return the remaining frescos, as well as their preliminary “sinopie” drawings, to their pre-war state.
Visitors are expected to preserve this cultural treasure by showing respect for the graves and maintaining the solemn atmosphere of the cemetery.
Guided tours are available for those who wish to learn more about the history and significance of the site.
What to see in Camposanto
The Camposanto Monumentale’s cloisters are filled with funerary monuments, including an extraordinary 84 Roman sarcophagi that survived the war; others did not.
Other monuments include Neoclassical works of art, floor tombstones with reliefs of various effigies, and smaller memorial plaques.
The Camposanto interior showcases breathtaking frescoes and intricate sculptures, making it a culturally enriching experience for visitors.
You will find some of it during your visit.
Cappella del Pozzo
With its eye-catching dome, the Cappella del Pozzo was added to the structure in 1594 and is named after the Archbishop of Pisa, Carlo Antonio del Pozzo.
In addition to the Capella del Pozzo, the Camposanto has two other chapels: the Ammanati Chapel and the Aulla Chapel.
The Santa Reparata church’s Baptistery ruins are beneath the cemetery. (The church itself stood on the site of the Duomo).
The structure was taking shape in the fourteenth century.
Two great artists of the time, Francesco Traini and Bonamico Buffalmacco, created frescoes about Life and Death that adorned the inner walls.
They appear to stage the Dominican Cavalca’s sermons in town or the terrifying views of Dante’s Comedy.
The most obvious reference to it is in the “Triumph of Death” and “Last Judgment” paintings by Buffalmacco, who is also known as the character in some of Boccaccio’s stories.
The cycle of frescoes continues well into the fourteenth century with Andrea Bonaiuti’s “Stories of Pisan Saints” and the Stories of the Ancient Testament.
Taddeo Gaddi and Piero di Puccio started it, and Florentine Benozzo Gozzoli finished it in the mid-15th century along the northern wall.
The Triumph of Death
After a long restoration history, the most important and best-preserved fresco was relocated to its original location on June 6, 2018.
The “Triumph of Death” cycle comprises the most renowned frescoes in Camposanto. Artists painted the process between 1360 and 1380.
A bomb explosion in the cemetery severely damaged the frescoes in 1944. Restoration efforts uncovered original fresco designs beneath the existing ones.
These designs are now on display at the Museo delle Sinopie, which is located nearby.
To explore the Tower of Pisa and other attractions nearby, check out the different ticket options we have shortlisted for you.
Tips to Remember
- Examine the remaining frescoes. Some notable examples include the 14th-century Triumph of Death, a terrifying Last Judgment, and the Anchorites’ Stories.
Because the artist is unknown, he has earned the amusing moniker “Master of the Triumph of Death.”
- Take your time admiring the artwork. Everything is exquisitely detailed, from the paintings to the statues to the sarcophagi!
- There will be a large crowd outside.
- Visitors with tickets can use the complex’s restrooms and free cloakroom in the Opera della Primaziale Pisana building.
- Try eating at one of the restaurants and cafés near the Piazza dei Miracoli Square.
- Wheelchair users can access the Camposanto cemetery.
- To enter the cemetery chapels, you must wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
Where is Camposanto?
Campo Santo, Camposanto Monumentale, or Camposanto Vecchio, is a cemetery located on the northern side of Pisa’s Cathedral Square.
What was the Camposanto in Pisa, and what happened to it?
Camposanto in Pisa is a cemetery. A bomb fragment from an Allied raid started a fire in Camposanto on July 27, 1944, which burned for three days and caused the timber lead roof to collapse.
The roof’s destruction severely harmed everything inside the cemetery, destroying most of the sculptures and sarcophagi and jeopardizing the frescoes.
What does Camposanto mean?
Although the name translates to “saint’s field,” which generally means “cemetery,” the original name, “Campus Sanctus,” most likely honored the 14th-century Ferrara family of Santi, who owned the land.
The campo santo is a cemetery with a large collection of sepulchral monuments and a museum dedicated to the dead.
What is the historical significance of Camposanto?
Since at least the late Roman period, the Camposanto site has been used as a holy burial ground.
The central area, which is arranged as a cloister, is thought to contain soil from Golgotha.
The colonnades host numerous sarcophagi, burial tombs, and funerary monuments.
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