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Pisa Cathedral

The Pisa Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, is located just 55 meters from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and is part of the famous Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli) complex.

The museum features a vast art treasury focusing on sculptures, including medieval statues that adorned the Cathedral and Baptistery and architectural fragments associated with the Piazza dei Miracoli.

Entry to the Cathedral is free if you buy the tickets to the Tower of Pisa in advance.

In this article, you will learn everything about this beautiful church, including its history, opening hours and most notable features.

Pisa Cathedral History Timeline

The Pisa Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, has a rich history spanning over 900 years.

Here is a brief timeline of the Cathedral’s construction and notable events:

1063: Construction of the present Cathedral begins.

1092: The main structure is completed.

1118: The Cathedral is consecrated by Pope Gelasius II

Around 1140: The Cathedral is largely extended and the current beautiful facade was built.

1153: Construction of the baptistery starts next to the Cathedral

1156: Additional walls are built to incorporate the new Cathedral and buildings around it

1173: Construction of the Pisa Tower (campanile) starts

1302-1310: The stone pulpit is created by Giovanni Pisano

1595: The Cathedral burns in a fire, resulting in the loss of most of its medieval art values

Early 18th century: Most of the beautiful frescoes inside the Cathedral are created

1926: The beautiful pulpit is rediscovered and set up in the Cathedral

What to see inside Pisa Cathedral?

As you enter and discover the Pisa Cathedral’s amazing architecture, stunning artwork, and rich history, you will come to appreciate its breathtaking beauty.

Pisa Cathedral Architecture

With its stunning marble facade and intricate sculptural details, the Pisa Cathedral continues to draw visitors worldwide who seek to admire its beauty. 

  • Facade

Before entering, admire the ancient Cathedral’s stunning exterior with four tall column levels resembling porticoes adorned with finely carved lintels and high arches. 

Its unique facade, influenced by southern Italian, Islamic, and Armenian architecture, showcases elaborate multicolored marble inlays against a gray and white marble backdrop.

  • Doors

After a fire in 1595 destroyed wooden doors at Pisa Cathedral, three sets of bronze doors were commissioned and funded by Ferdinando I de Medici. 

Dating back to the late 16th century, these doors depict events from the New Testament.

They are among Italy’s earliest examples of bronze entranceways, although they weren’t used for entry.

Pisa Cathedral interior

The Pisa Cathedral’s interior is a mesmerizing work of art, embellished with minute details, intriguing murals, and a tranquil atmosphere that will astound visitors.

  • The dome, the ceiling, and the columns

The Medici family coat of arms is featured in a magnificent 17th-century coffered ceiling within Pisa Cathedral, which is embellished with gold leaf and detailed woodwork. 

The roof, which is supported by Corinthian columns and gives the impression of height, is complimented by an Islamic-inspired dome that displays elaborate ornamentation created by Pisan craftsmen.

  • Giovanni Pisano’s marble pulpit

Giovanni Pisano’s marble pulpit, made between 1302 and 1310, endured a fire in 1595 but returned after 431 years. 

It’s famous for its detailed sculptures, showing nude figures and heroics, hinting at Renaissance styles, and though removed for centuries, it’s still a Gothic masterpiece, with questions remaining about its original form.

  • Mosaic in Christ’s enthroned apse

The Duomo of Pisa features a special mosaic in its apse, painted by Cimabue in 1302, depicting Christ, Mary, and Saint John, known for its portrayal of Saint John’s face. 

This mosaic, Cimabue’s final authenticated work before his death, showcases his departure from Byzantine tradition and resembles mosaics found in churches in Sicily.

  • The work of art

The beautiful interiors of the Pisa Cathedral are decorated with sculptures, tombs, and paintings. 

Among these are the tomb of Henry VII, which Tino da Camaino sculpted, and 27 paintings that depict scenes from the Old Testament and the life of Christ. 

Famous Tuscan painters from the 16th and 17th centuries, such as Andrea del Sarto and Domenico Beccafumi, painted the walls of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the area behind the main altar. 

Visit the beautiful Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower with the most affordable ticket. 

Pisa Cathedral Hours

The Pisa Cathedral is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm.

Religious holidays influence visiting hours, which also vary on Sundays. 

Before you visit, check the official website for any changes to opening hours, as services and times are posted there. 

Best Time to Visit Pisa Cathedral

Because they are all in the same complex, you can visit Pisa Cathedral when you plan to climb Pisa’s Leaning Tower and explore Piazza dei Miracoli.

If you want to enjoy it with fewer people, go earlier in the day, though it will most likely be busy during the high season (summer). 

Another option is to go there near the end of the day when most daytrippers have left.

Pisa Cathedral Location

The Pisa Cathedral is 1.7 kilometers (1.05 miles) from Pisa Central Station. 

Get Directions.

It takes about 20 minutes to walk between the two along the Via Roma.

Alternatively, several buses, including the 875 and 070, connect the train station and the Cathedral. Make sure to alight at the Torre 1 bus stop. 

They run frequently, take about 10 to 15 minutes to get to the Cathedral, and cost €1 

One must validate your ticket once on board, which is valid for only one hour.

Pisa Cathedral Tickets

Pisa Cathedral is free to enter, and you can get your free pass in person at the site. 

You should purchase tickets to the other attractions in Piazza dei Miracoli, including tickets to the Duomo of Pisa, which are not subject to a fixed time.

The Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower of Pisa combination ticket is ideal for people who want to learn more about Pisa’s architectural marvels. 

If you want to visit Pisa Cathedral in Italy on a specific date, buying your tickets as far in advance as possible is best.

You can also book a guided tour of the Pisa Cathedral with the Tower of Pisa and admire its excellent architecture. 

Things to Remember

  1. Pisa Cathedral Dress Code

Despite its popularity as a tourist attraction, Pisa Cathedral is still a place of worship. As a result, visitors are required to dress appropriately. 

This includes covering the shoulders, knees, and midriffs. 

If you’re visiting during the summer, consider wearing loose, long-sleeved tops and trousers, or bring a shawl or light scarf to cover up with before entering.

  1. Photography Permission

Photography is permitted inside Pisa Cathedral during normal visiting hours. Cameras cannot be used when visiting during a mass or ceremony.

  1. Toilets

There are very few public bathrooms near the Duomo of Pisa that you can use for free – access is restricted to visitors who have already purchased tickets.

There is a public restroom near the church. Still, depending on the time and day you visit, you may have to wait longer to use the facilities (this is most common during high season). 

Also, many tourists use the restrooms at the nearby restaurants, but you will have to buy something there, such as a soft drink, and may still have to wait in line.

Pisa Cathedral Facts

As you explore the fantastic facts about Pisa Cathedral here, enter a world of history and breathtaking architecture.

  • Pisa Cathedral Construction

The medieval Roman Catholic Cathedral in Pisa, Italy, was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. 

Pisa Cathedral was built in the Pisan Romanesque style and served as the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa. 

In 1063, architect Buscheto began construction on the Pisa Cathedral. 

The spoils obtained while fighting the Muslims in Sicily were used to pay for the construction costs in 1063.

  • The Cathedral’s Stylistic Elements

The Lombard-Emilian, classical, Islamic, and Byzantine architectural elements combined in Pisa Cathedral are evidence of the city’s flourishing trade and cultural interactions at its prime. 

Placed beyond the medieval walls as a representation of tenacity, it bears witness to Pisa’s historical importance as a leading power in the Mediterranean area.

  • The Primacy of the Church

In 1092, the Cathedral was declared a primatial church after Pope Urban II bestowed the title of Primate on the then-archbishop of the Cathedral, Archbishop Dagobert. 

In 1118, Pope Gelasius II, a member of the Caetani family, consecrated the Cathedral.

  • The Church’s Enlargement

Rainaldo, an architect, oversaw the Cathedral’s expansion in the early twelfth century. 

Adding three bays in the original Buscheto style increased the nave’s length. 

The transept was also increased in size. Rainaldo also designed the new façade, which workers led by sculptors Biduino and Guglielmo completed.

  • Exterior Decoration

The Cathedral’s exterior is richly decorated with mosaic, polychrome marble, and many bronze objects obtained as war spoils. 

Griffin was one of the bronze objects acquired in Palermo in 1061 and was placed on the roof’s eastern section.

  • The Cathedral Organs

The Serassi organ, which can be found inside Pisa Cathedral, was built between 1831 and 1835. 

Another organ in the Cathedral was built in 1977 by the Cuvio-based company Mascioni.

  • The Cathedral’s Relics

The Cathedral houses relics of Pisa’s patron saint, Saint Rainerius, and the unfinished tomb of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII, who died at Buonconvento.

  • Arches

The high arches were built in the southern Italian and Islamic styles, while the blind arches with lozenge shapes are reminiscent of some Armenian structures.

  • Bronze Doors

Many tourists who have visited the Pisa Cathedral will immediately point out the bronze doors. 

Bonanno Pisano, an artist, was responsible for creating an extraordinary piece of artwork depicting Christ’s ascension. 

Pisa Cathedral embodies the very essence of Romanesque architecture.

Explore the rich history and architectural wonders of the Piazza del Duomo with the best tickets. Book now!

FAQs

Why is the Pisa Cathedral famous?

The Cathedral of Pisa is one of the most beautiful churches in Tuscany, Italy.

The Cathedral is notable for its Romanesque architecture. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a masterpiece of Pisan Romanesque architecture. 

It was consecrated in 1118 and served as the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa. The building began in 1063 and was finished in 1092.

Can you go inside Pisa Cathedral?

What is the most notable characteristic of the Pisa Cathedral?

Is the Cathedral in Pisa free?

Featured Image: Tom D’Arby / Pexels

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