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The Field of Miracles in Pisa, Italy
The Field of Miracles is the most popular attraction in Pisa and one of the most famous places in the world. This walled 8.87-hectare area (22 acres) consists of The Leaning Tower, the Duomo, the Baptistry, and the Monumental Cemetery. This piazza is called Il Campo dei Miracoli in Italian. This piazza is located at the edge of the old medieval town instead of the city center as most people expect.
The Leaning Tower
The tower was built between 1173 and the end of the 14th century. It took so long to build because it started to lean as soon as the third floor was finished and the work halted. A century later the works started again. If you look closely at the tower, it is not a straight tower leaning, it is slightly bent, in the attempt to straighten it up and prevent its fall.
Did you know? When the building complex at Field of Miracles was built, the bell tower wasn’t intended to be the centerpiece of the square.
In the past few years, work has been done and the tower leans less now than it used to five years ago. For several years the tower was closed. The tower now is open and you can climb its 293 steps to the top but it is not possible to go up to the summit without a guide. You also have to purchase the tickets in advance. Meaning, you actually purchase tickets for a certain time and you only have 30-minutes to be in the tower. Yup! Thirty minutes to climb the 293 steps, take your pictures, and return to the base. Security makes sure you stay within your time frame.
Gary and I have been to this Field of Miracles on several occasions. We have yet to climb the tower – but it is on our list of things to do. I would like to do this before you are not allowed to go inside anymore.
Here’s a great story about the man that saved the Leaning Tower
Cathedral of Pisa
As luck would have it on our last trip they were restoring the main altar and part of one of the sides. It was deceiving at first because the screen print actually looks like the fresco but we saw lights through the material. That gave it away! They really did a good job at keeping the scaffolding minimal so you could still admire the surroundings. Time to go back and take another photo!
The Baptistery in Pisa has 70 steps up to the top where you can look at the altar from above. It is a plain building with no paintings; almost cold inside. The only real color is from the stained glass windows. The white marble with black striping is just beautiful. Plain and beautiful!
What makes a church different from a cathedral? Usually, behind the altar you will see an imposing seat; this is where the bishop sits during important celebrations. In every town, the most important church is called the cathedral because it houses the bishop’s seat. The “cathedra” is the Latin word for the master’s seat.
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We Finally Climbed the Tower!
UPDATE: November 2021 – We met our friend Victoria from Firenze at the Pisa train station as she too wanted to climb the tower. It was an incredible experience and one I would highly recommend. Although it was 295 steps and at times we had to take a break, we made it to the top with stunning views – even though it was an overcast day.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2016 and was updated in November 2022 for accuracy and additional information.