The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Camposanto

This beautiful walled cemetery is said to be the most picturesque cemetery in the world. Thought to be built in sacred soil from Golgotha, the Camponsanto is one tourist destination that many visiting Pisa forget to see. In the opinion of many who have visited, this is not something that you'll want to miss and that the Camponsanto will steal the thunder from the leaning tower!

The cemetery is decorated in ornate Gothic moldings, carvings, statues, and arch's. From the outside, the building is suitable for any purpose, and it's hard to believe that insight lie the bodies of some significant leaders and people from the past.

Theological Significance and Architectural Design

After the fourth crusade, Ubaldo de' Lanfranch brought back a shipload of the sacred soil from Golgotha (the site of Christs crucifixion). The soil, along with it's history and back story, gives the Camponsanto immense religious significance.

The obvious religious influences can be seen in the design the building, which features 43 blind arches, two majestically appointed doorways, and numerous Gothic features. Those who appreciate ancient Gothic design will come to love the Camponsanto's plethora of visual feasts.

One doorway is adorned by a Gothic tabernacle, containing the Virgin Mary With Child surrounded by four saints. The level of detail and precision of the artwork is amazing, and you will surely be left wondering how such an amazing piece could have survived so long.

Though the leaning tower of Pisa was "completed" in 1370, it took until 1464 until the Camponsanto was finished. This time line is shown in the intricacies of the building, along with the overall design and scheme. The building contained an elaborate collection of sculptures, carvings, and other priceless works of art, though an incendiary bomb dropped by Allied aircraft in 1944 destroyed many of them.

It is unfortunate that the building took the damage, but also understandable as the Nazi's had a significant military presence in Pisa and the historic buildings specifically. We are fortunate that the damage was largely repairable and that the structure itself remained intact.

Restoration

Since the damage that was done the Campansanto in 1944, much effort has been put into restoring the monument back to its original elegance. Many of the destroyed architectural nuances and artworks have been reproduced, and though they may never hold the same historical significance as the originals, they are truly a sight to behold. In time, the newly resorted Camponsanto will become just as memorable and valuable as the original elements.