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Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Pisa


Pisa Cathedral with Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background
Pisa Cathedral with Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background

Photo by Gerd Eichmann on Wikimedia Commons

The Cathedral of Pisa is the cathedral of the religious complex from Piazza del Duomo, besides the baptistry - Battistero di San Giovanni, the bell tower (campanile in Italian) - Torre di Pisa, and the cemetery - Camposanto Monumentale (translated in English "The monumental cemetery"). Its full name is actually Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta. The medieval cathedral is dedicated to St. Mary Assunta and is the main building, the large vaulted cathedral, designed to reflect the great social, political and military power of the city of Pisa. According to the inscription found carved on the facade, the construction began in 1063, according to the plans of the Italian architect Buscheto. The dimensions are impressive, it is 96 meters long, 21 meters wide and the dome, on which the symbol of Christianity - the holy cross, rises and reaches 28 meters.


The building has the classic plan of a Roman church, with the main nave and side nave, the apse and the dome built at the intersection of the main nave with the transept, in the form of a Latin cross with unequal arms. The entrance is made by three Roman portals, separated by niches of blind masonry, finished by a horizontal development of semicircular Roman arches, the arch that continues on the side walls of the monument. Horizontal strings of wall construction elements accentuate its decorativism, monumentality, and stability. The facade rises on 5 levels. It is massive on the ground floor and decorated on the next 4 levels with repeated, overlapping rows of columns. The side walls, on 3 levels, have small openings through the windows framed by semicircular arches, and the same type of ornaments can be found at the drum at the base of the dome. It is built out of bright white marble, highlighted and accentuated by the intensity and infinity of the blue sky that reflects the blue of the nearby sea water. This is where Galileo was baptized, in the baptistry of the Cathedral of Pisa, and also where he, while studying at the University of Pisa, formulated the "isochronism of the pendulum" ("law of the pendulum") watching the oscillations of a lamp in the Cathedral of Pisa.