The Piazza dei Miracoli, also known as the Square of Miracles, Piazza del Duomo, or Cathedral Square, is Pisa’s main attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This stunning square is home to the city’s four main sacred monuments and two museums, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler to Pisa.

Exploring the Square

As you enter the Piazza dei Miracoli, you’ll be greeted by a sprawling park, perfect for relaxing and admiring the breathtaking architecture that surrounds you. The square’s lush green lawns and well-maintained walkways provide a serene setting for visitors to take in the sights and sounds of this historical treasure.

The Four Sacred Monuments

  1. Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of St. John)
  2. Camposanto Vecchio (Old Cemetery)
  3. Duomo di Pisa (Pisa Cathedral)
  4. Torre di Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa)

The Two Museums

  1. Opera del Duomo Museum (Cathedral Museum)
  2. Sinopie Museum

Battistero di San Giovanni

The Battistero di San Giovanni, or the Baptistery of St. John, is a cylindrical 12th-century structure that is reportedly the largest baptistery in Italy. Known for its powerful resonating acoustics, the baptistery features stunning stained-glass windows, an octagonal baptismal font by sculptor Guido Bigarelli (also known as Guido da Como), and a magnificent 13th-century pulpit by Nicola Pisano.

Camposanto Vecchio

The Camposanto Vecchio, or Old Cemetery, is a rectangular marble cloister constructed in 1278. It surrounds a central courtyard filled with ‘sacred earth’ brought back from Jerusalem during the Crusades. The Camposanto serves as the final resting place for members of the powerful Medici family, who ruled over Pisa during the Middle Ages.

Duomo di Pisa

The Duomo di Pisa, or Pisa Cathedral, is a prime example of Pisan Romanesque architecture. Construction of this magnificent structure began in 1064, and the cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. Often referred to as the ‘temple of marble white as snow’, the Duomo boasts intricate architectural features, Byzantine-influenced mosaics, and a stunning coffered ceiling.

Opera del Duomo Museum

Established in 1986, the Opera del Duomo Museum is housed in the former 13th-century Episcopal Seminary. The museum showcases a collection of artifacts removed from the various monuments in the Piazza dei Miracoli, including artwork, sculptures, architectural elements, and liturgical furnishings. Notable pieces in the collection include original works by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, as well as Andrea Guardi, a student of the renowned sculptor Donatello.

Sinopie Museum

The Sinopie Museum, located in the 13th-century New Hospital of the Holy Spirit, displays the underdrawings (sinopie) of the frescoes from the Camposanto Vecchio. These drawings were uncovered following the collapse of the cemetery roof during World War II, providing a fascinating glimpse into the artistic process of the time.

Torre di Pisa

No visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli is complete without seeing the iconic Torre di Pisa, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This freestanding bell tower of the Duomo took nearly 350 years to complete, with construction beginning in 1173. Due to the unstable soil upon which it was built, the tower has developed a significant lean over the centuries. Remarkably, despite its precarious tilt, the tower has managed to remain standing. Interestingly, the Leaning Tower is not the only structure in the square affected by the unstable soil; upon closer inspection, you may notice other buildings in the Piazza dei Miracoli that are also sinking.

Ticket Information

To visit the monuments and museums in the Square of Miracles, you can purchase tickets at the ticket counter inside the Sinopie Museum, which is located between the souvenir stalls near the Baptistery. Convenient combo-tickets are available, allowing you to choose the number of monuments or museums you’d like to visit – either 1, 2, 3, or 4 sites.

  • Adult Admission (Cathedral): FREE (a ticket is required for entry)
  • Adult Admission (1 monument/museum): €5.00
  • Adult Admission (2 monuments/museums): €7.00
  • Adult Admission (3 monuments/museums): €8.00
  • Adult Admission (4 monuments/museums): €9.00

The above prices are valid for the Baptistery, Old Cemetery, Opera del Duomo Museum, and Sinopie Museum.

To visit the Leaning Tower, a separate ticket is required, which costs €18.00 for adults. It is highly recommended to purchase your ticket well in advance of your visit to ensure availability.

Travel Tips

  • Although entrance to the Cathedral is free, you still need to obtain a ticket. Free entry tickets, limited to a maximum of 2 people per ticket, can be obtained at the ticket purchase points in the square.
  • Tickets for the Leaning Tower are sold separately from tickets for the other monuments. You can purchase tower tickets online up to 20 days in advance of your visit to guarantee your desired time slot.
  • While it may be tempting to dine near the main tourist attractions, it is strongly advised to avoid restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the Square of Miracles, as they tend to be overpriced and often cater to travelers rather than offering authentic local cuisine.

Discovering Pisa’s Treasures

The Piazza dei Miracoli is a testament to Pisa’s rich cultural heritage and a showcase of the city’s architectural marvels. As you explore the square and its monuments, take the time to appreciate the skill and dedication of the artists, architects, and craftsmen who created these stunning works of art.

Beyond the square, Pisa has much more to offer visitors. Take a stroll along the Arno River, visit the charming Piazza dei Cavalieri, or explore the city’s many museums and galleries. With its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, Pisa is a city that will capture your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.

As you plan your visit to Pisa, be sure to allocate ample time to fully appreciate the wonders of the Piazza dei Miracoli. By following these tips and enjoying the beauty and history of this remarkable square, you’ll experience the very best of what Pisa has to offer.

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