Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Daytrip to Pisa

Sunday 6/19

My first day off!!! Woohoo!

Well, more like....I have a day off....

I should really try to go somewhere.....

So I did. Despite being tired from the first week of classes, I went to Pisa with one of my roommates and another classmate. Like the rest of the tourists, we were going to see the Duomo, the baptistry and the Campo Santo cemetery.

After a pit stop for coffee, we just made it onto a train leaving for Pisa from Santa Maria Novella. Literally we just made it onto the train by running for it.

When we got to Pisa we went with the rest of the herd towards the Piazza del Duomo:

Another statue of the famous General Garibaldi

S- if you're reading this, these earring displays remind me of your scarf contraption :)

Street view!

As we walked along we happened upon an artist's market where I bought some ceramics from this adorable artist:


I love color and this lady was so cute and nice. I didn't even have to bargain. She knocked Euros off without me asking! So nice!

The market really cheered me up. I haven't seen its like in Florence yet.

After the market we headed for the Duomo, with a slight detour as we got lost. Eventually we spotted the flock of tourists heading for the anthill of the Piazza del Duomo.

There's the tore (tower) of Pisa

It was exciting to see the famous leaning tore (tower) although the wait to climb it was ridiculous. We ended up buying a museum pass for everything besides the tower and started with the baptistry.

The Baptistry

View of the floor. 

The Pulpit

The columns. The two girls taking pictures are my classmates!

The Baptistry interior is not very exciting but the view of the Duomo facade is well worth going inside. You can see all the colorful ants below!

After visiting the Baptistry we headed to the cloister. So far, cloisters and cemeteries have easily been my favorite places in the cathedral complexes we've visited.  Here are some pictures of the Campo Santo cemetery and cloister in Pisa!

The cloister courtyard with a view of the Duomo's cupola in the background.

The beautiful medieval and renaissance frescoes that line the walls of the courtyard.

Detail. The fresco colors are faded and have suffered some damage, but they are still quite beautiful. I love the colors the artist chose. As you'll see, they match the color palette of Pisa rather well!

Fresco wall with a massive iron chain. Not sure what the chain is from, but it hangs above a tomb.

A beautiful marble tomb. Like Santa Croce, San Lorenzo and the other churches we've visited this one has tombs from wealthy patrons, important church leaders, reliquaries, etc as well. 

The real treasure of this cloister, however, are the two large frescoes by Bonamico di Martino da Firenze (of Florence!) known as Buffalmacco. There are two displayed at the cloister, one called The Last Judgment and the other The Triumph of Death. Painted ca. 1336-1341. Here they are:

A larger image.

Some details

My favorite part of The Last Judgment: The mouth of hell!!!

The columns and beautifully decorated arches in the courtyard.

Courtyard of the cemetery

Leaving the cloister, we headed to see the Duomo. Here are some pictures of the interior:

The bronze doors of the Cathedral

Aisle off of the nave. The stripe arch motif comes from Moorish architecture.

The nave and ceiling

The main altar, which has a beautiful mosaic

Reliquary of St. Ranieri (Pisa's patron saint)

The pulpit in the background and view of the other aisle

Detail of the pulpit. It's so ornate!

Maria i bambino (Mary and Child) icon

Mosaic over the main altar. 

After the Cathedral, I split up from my friends and headed home, walking and photographing Pisa as I went.

Cafes near the Piazza del Duomo

Flea market nearby selling mostly African goods

City Streets

Patriotism in a balcony. Like in Florence, the citizens are Pisans first and Italians second.

Street art. 

Coming up to the river, I passed under an archway, which we don't have very many of in Florence.

Tower on top of a building

More archways

The Arno

View of the Arno and the High Gothic Santa Maria della Spina (on the right)

This little Gothic gem reminds me so much of the Sainte Chapelles I saw in France. According to my guidebook, it was built to hold an interesting relic: one of the original thorns that pierced the head of Christ.

Street heading to the train station.

"Tuttomondo" mural by Keith Haring, 1989

The Pisa train station


Goodbye Pisa!


  1. Who did the mosaic over the altar?

  2. Not sure. When I get back I have a lot to research!

  3. Aw you should have done one of those cheese pisa pictures where you put your arms up and look like you're holding up the tower!