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Camposanto

Camposanto, also known as the Camposanto Monumentale, is a famous cemetery in Pisa, Italy, located in the Piazza dei Miracoli. 

Dating back to the 13th century, it features stunning Gothic architecture with 43 blind arches on its exterior wall. 

The cemetery houses three chapels, including the oldest, Chapel Ammannati. It has been converted into a museum since the early 19th century, showcasing valuable historical and artistic artifacts. 

Visitors can admire its beauty through frescoes and monuments, making it a must-see destination in Tuscany.

Camposanto History

Giovanni di Simone began constructing Camposanto in 1278, completing it in the 16th century. 

The cemetery was built on sacred soil from the Third Crusade, believed to decompose bodies rapidly. 

Legend dubbed it Camposanto, as Pisan ships mixed soil from the Holy Land here. 

Bishop Federico Visconti donated the land in 1277, initially as a church dedicated to the Trinity. 

Pisa’s defeat in the Battle of Meloria partly halted construction. 

The Genovese army took chains from the entrance in 1284, returning after Italy’s reunification. 

Frescos along the corridor began in 1360, featuring themes of life and death. 

Notable figures rest here, but many graves were damaged in World War II. 

Restoration work has since preserved the remaining frescos and drawings. 

Visitors are urged to respect the cemetery’s heritage and solemn atmosphere.

Most visitors prefer taking a guided tour 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. It is named after the Archbishop of Pisa, Carlo Antonio del Pozzo.

Chapels

In addition to the Capella del Pozzo, the Camposanto has two other chapels: the Ammanati Chapel and the Aulla Chapel.

Ruins

The Santa Reparata church’s Baptistery ruins are beneath the cemetery. (The church itself stood on the site of the Duomo).

The Frescoes

In the fourteenth century, the structure of the frescoes inside the building began to take shape, with artists Francesco Traini and Bonamico Buffalmacco creating vibrant depictions of Life and Death. 

They staged Dominican Cavalca’s sermons and Dante’s Comedy. At the same time, Andrea Bonaiuti and Benozzo Gozzoli continued the cycle well into the fifteenth century, completing it along the northern wall.

The Triumph of Death 

Restoration efforts unveiled original fresco designs beneath existing ones in 1944, severely damaged by a bomb explosion. 

On 6 June, 2018, the most important and best-preserved fresco, part of the “Triumph of Death” cycle, was relocated to its original location after a long restoration history.

To explore the Tower of Pisa and other attractions nearby, check out the best ticket options

Camposanto Opening Hours

Pisa Camposanto is open longer in peak season, April to September, from 8 am to 8 pm, to accommodate tourists. 

In the quieter months, October to March, it opens at 9 am and closes at 5.30 pm. These hours allow visitors to enjoy the cemetery’s art and sculptures. 

Opening hours may change on holidays or for special events.

Find the detailed Camposanto timings below. 

Months Timings
1 November 9 am to 6 pm
22 December to 6 January 9 am to 6 pm
February10 am to 5 pm
March 9 am to 6 pm
23 March to 29 March9 am to 7 pm
April8 am to 8 pm
17 June to 31 August8 am to 10 pm
September8 am to 8 pm
October9 am to 7 pm
27 October to 1 November9 am to 6 pm 

How to reach Camposanto?

The Camposanto is located in Piazza del Duomo, 17, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy. 

Find the Camposanto location here

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 (Buses 21 and 4) to Piazza dei Miracoli from the train station.

The cemetery is part of the same Square of Miracles complex that houses the tower. Check out the most popular tickets and have a great trip!

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. 
  • 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.

FAQs

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?

What does Camposanto mean?

What is the historical significance of Camposanto?

Featured Image: Wjarek / Getty Images

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