Pisa, Italy

Seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa is on most wish lists. What most people don’t know but are delighted to discover are the stunning marble facades surrounding it. You will stand in awe whiles savoring their details.

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1 Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy

It took almost two hundred years to construct the white marble Tower of Pisa. It started leaning soon after construction began in 1173. In an attempt to compensate, the upper floors were built so one side is taller than the other. Nearly three hundred steps lead to the top. The finished bell tower stands about 186 feet at the peak and leans over 12 feet.

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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2 Pisa Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy

The centerpiece of the Piazza del Duomo or Cathedral Square is the medieval Pisa Cathedral. Construction on Italy’s first Pisan Romanesque church began in 1063. The spectacular marble façade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta features blind arcades, arches, columns, three bronze doors and a dome. Wow, it is beautiful! Did you also notice the iconic leaning bell tower behind it?

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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3 Virgin with Child Tympanum at Pisa Cathedral in Pisa, Italy

The Cathedral of Pisa was dedicated to St. Mary of the Assumption when it was built from the 11th through the 14th centuries. This pink and white marble tympanum over the church’s Porta di San Ranieri entrance displays an ornate mosaic of the Virgin with Child. It was sculpted by Giovanni Pisano. The initials stand for Opera della Primaziale Pisana, an entity that was created in 1063 to oversee the building of Duomo di Pisa. The non-profit organization still manages the religious complex of buildings within Piazza del Miracoli.

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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4 Porta di San Ranieri on Pisa Cathedral in Pisa, Italy

Opposite the main entrance to the Pisa Cathedral is Porta di San Ranieri. This bronze St. Ranieri’s Gate was cast around 1180 by Bonanno Piscano. It is the only one of four doors that survived a devastating fire to the Duomo in 1595. It has bas-relief engravings of the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary.

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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5 Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cherub Statue in Pisa, Italy

It is hard if not impossible to take a unique photo of something as iconic as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Piazza del Duomo. However, I liked framing it behind this nearby statue of three cherubs. They are holding a shield with the Cross of Pisa on it.

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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6 Madonna and Child Sculpture on Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy

Above the entrance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a sculpture of the Madonna and Child which is attributed to artist Andrea Guardi. Apparently this is a replica. The original is displayed at the Dome’s Opera Museum.

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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7 Pisa Baptistery of St. John in Pisa, Italy

It took over two hundred years to build what is still Italy’s largest baptistery. Called the Pisa Baptistery of St. John, this Roman Catholic, marble building was finished in 1363. It stands about 180 feet tall in the grassy Piazza del Miracoli in front of the Pisa Cathedral. The lower half is Romanesque while the upper part is Gothic. Similar to its neighboring buildings, it also leans.

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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8 Leaning Tower of Pisa and Duomo in Pisa, Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was built from 1173 to 1372 as a freestanding bell tower behind the Pisa Cathedral, a portion of which is on the left. From this angle you can see how much the tower still tilts despite the 1990 through 2001 restoration that corrected it to within four degrees. But this could also be partially an optical illusion because the Duomo is also leaning.

Piazza del Duomo 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
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