After our late night arrival from the Cinque Terre, we slept in a little before heading out for the 1 hour and 45 minute drive to Pisa. We got to Pisa around 1 pm and managed to find a parking spot about a block from the Campo dei Miracoli.
Walking from the parking lot, we very quickly approached the walls of the old city of Pisa and then walked through the gates into the Campo dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles. The Campo dei Miracoli is where all of the famous landmarks of Pisa reside, and was probably the single most “tourist trap” of any area we visited in Italy. We took a few pictures of the cathedral complex, including the famous Leaning Tower, as we walked along the street lined with souvenir stands.
We then went and purchased our tickets for all of the attractions. We then proceeded to go tour the Duomo di Pisa. The Duomo contains a number of famous artworks, such as the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano, although most of the interior has been redecorated since a fire in 1595 destroyed most of the medieval artwork. The incense lamp in the cathedral is also said to have been the inspiration for Galileo in formulating his theory on the movement of a pendulum. Another interesting note is that, like its famous neighbor, the Duomo is nowhere near straight, and the architects clearly tried to compensate for the leaning during the construction.
After the Duomo, we went to see the Camposanto. According to legend, the central courtyard of the Camposanto is filled with dirt that the Crusaders brought back from the Holy Land. The Camposanto is now a museum displaying Christian funerary monuments over the centuries. The museum also contains a number of frescoes that are in the process of being restored after the interior of the building was largely destroyed in World War II.
After leaving the Camposanto, we went to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. This museum contains a number of original artworks from the Duomo. Some of our favorites included the inlaid wood and the vestry garments used in the cathedral over the centuries. The balcony of the museum also offered some great views of the Campo dei Miracoli.
Upon finishing with the Museo, we walked along the line of souvenir shops down to the Baptistry. The Baptistry is famous for its incredible acoustics and we were treated to a singing exhibition by one of the Opera employees. The Baptistry is also known for its beautiful carved marble pulpit by Nicola Pisano.
After the Baptistry, we went and purchased some of our souvenirs and then went to find dinner before our 6:45 pm entrance to the Leaning Tower. We walked down to the Piazza dei Cavalieri as we were killing time and looking for dinner. We ended up walking back towards the Campo dei Miracoli and having dinner at a small restaurant that clearly catered to the tourists. I had a seafood pasta dish, and Andrea had a pizza for dinner. Both were very good.
We then went back to meet for our climb to the top of La Torre Pendente. While the lean has been reduced in recent years, it is still quite noticable and made climbing the stairs on one side much easier than on the other half of each revolution. Once at the top of the tower, we were treated to an impressive panorama of the city of Pisa and the Campo dei Miracoli. We stayed at the top for our whole 30 minutes, enjoying the view as the sun was setting and viewing the detail on the bronze bells at the top. You could also see down the core of the tower where the modern anchors are stabilizing the tower.
After coming down from the Leaning Tower, we hung out in the Campo dei Miracoli for a while, waiting to see the lighting of the tower in the dark and taking a few more pictures before heading back to Greppi di Silli for the night.