As the centerpiece of Pisa’s Piazza dei Miracoli, the Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa) is one of the most photographed buildings in Italy, along with its freestanding Leaning Tower. The Duomo remains an active church.
Circle the huge cathedral to really understand its scale. The Italian architect Buscheto designed the Duomo and to honour him after his death he was buried within a blind arch of the marble façade.
When the first stone of this colossal cathedral was laid in 1093, the seeds of Pisan-Romanesque architecture were sown. Nearly 1,000 years later, the architectural style can be seen throughout Tuscany. Yet, Pisa’s Duomo is still considered to be the masterpiece of the style.
Enter the nave through the bronze Door of San Ranieri, closest to the Leaning Tower. Inside, marble floors give way to a breathtaking pulpit created by the master sculptor Giovanni Pisano, once dubbed “the first modern sculptor.” Many of the medieval works of art that adorned the Duomo were destroyed in a 1595 fire. Today the cathedral features a stunning mix of medieval and Renaissance work.
Walk down one of the two aisles that flank the nave to reach the altar. Look up to admire Giambologna’s crucifix and the monumental 13th-century mosaic that decorates the apse. As you reach the choir, study the two bronze angels that mark its entrance.
If you are here during a weekend, attend a Sunday mass to hear the 38-piece choir. It’s very special to hear the voices reverberate beneath the Duomo’s domed roof.
The Pisa Duomo is located in Piazza dei Miracoli, on the edge of Pisa’s medieval centre. Reach the Duomo on foot or bus from within the city. Those arriving from farther afield will find secure parking for a fee on Via Pietrasantina, a five-minute walk from the square. The Duomo is open daily and an admission fee applies. Get a discount on the entry fee by buying a multi-attraction ticket, which gives you admission to other attractions in Piazza dei Miracoli.