Visitors flock to Pisa’s famous leaning tower, which is part of a magnificent cathedral complex centered around the 17th-century Duomo and adjacent baptistery. A splendid example of Pisan Romanesque architecture, the Duomo’s original and renovated elements include a splendid apse mosaic, ornate pulpit, golden coffered ceiling, and more.
The Piazza del Duomo, more commonly known as the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), houses Pisa’s Duomo complex, one of Italy’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The original church was built in the 11th century, but a fire in 1595 destroyed most of the medieval art and architecture—though the rendering of St. John’s face by Cimabue in the apse mosaic and the ornately carved pulpit by Giovanni Pisano survived. A series of renovations over the subsequent centuries added the Latin-cross floor plan, galleried exterior topped with a small dome, bronze doors from the Giambologna school, rounded apse, and five interior naves with a forest of massive pillars rising to the gilded ceiling.
The walled Piazza dei Miracoli is one of the most popular destinations in Tuscany and can be very crowded during the summer months. Booking a skip-the-line Pisa tour ahead of time is essential to avoid a long wait at the ticket office and ensure a time slot to visit the cathedral of Pisa along with the campanile and battistero (baptistry) before closing time. Consider a small-group tour of this stunning complex, or a Leaning Tower family tour if traveling with kids. If you have time for a full-day tour, you can easily combine a Pisa visit with nearby Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano, or other towns in Tuscany’s Chianti region.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Ticketed visitors can use the Opera della Primaziale Pisana building’s restrooms and store bags and luggage in the cloakroom for free.
- There are a number of restaurants and cafés located around the perimeter of the square.
- The Duomo is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Piazza dei Miracoli is about one mile (1.5 kilometers) north of the Pisa train station across the River Arno. Trains run daily from Rome, Florence, and Venice. It is about a 20-minute walk through the historic center of Pisa to the Duomo, or you can take the No. 4 or No. 21 bus from the station.
When to Get There
The Duomo is most crowded from late morning through the afternoon, so try to arrive in the early morning to enjoy the square and its sights before the throngs of daily visitors arrive.
Other Sights in the Piazza dei Miracoli
In addition to the Duomo, visitors can tour the Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery) and Sinopie Museum, which displays preparatory sketches for the cathedral’s frescoes. The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Duomo Opera Museum), founded in 1891, houses treasured works of art removed from the Duomo and baptistery for various reasons over the centuries.