Pisa is famous for its legendary leaning tower, but visitors only need to look left to see another fantastic site when visiting.
As Pisa’s Cathedral is a stunning architectural masterpiece and one of the area’s best beauties beyond the tower. The Cathedral, officially named the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, but also known as the Duomo of Pisa, sits right next to the famous leaning tower. Many travellers come to this region to see the iconic tower but stay longer to see the fascinating cathedral next door.
About the Cathedral
The period of construction of the Cathedral spanned three centuries. Beginning in 1063, during the Romanesque period and finishing up in the Gothic. Made in the same style as the leaning tower, embodying the diverse style of the historic region, with classical, Lombard-Emilian, Byzantine, and Islamic all featured.
The Exterior Design
The original design by Buscheto meant for the structure to be similar to a Greek cross. However, in the 12th century, a large extension occurred on the cathedral, making it resembled a Latin cross, with one extended arm. The style of the cathedral has a number of historic styles. The first is the Christian Basilicas, displaying a fantastic grandeur structure to showcase Pisa’s power and richness. However, by looking at another angle of the building, you can see the modern and innovative side of the cathedral. With a facade of arcades in four levels and stunning arches at the ground level.
There are endless churches around Europe, but none like the unique interior of Pisa’s Cathedral. Influenced by Moorish architecture, the building has a stunning display of lancet arches, usually seen in mosques rather than churches. They appear in alternating black and white marble, with a tall central nave and four side aisles. The wood, coffered ceiling is layered with gold, creating a truly inspiring interior.
How to see the Cathedral
Visiting the Cathedral is completely free, but before heading inside, you still need to collect a ticket and book a time to go in. Controlling the number of visitors at a time, with only 90 people allowed to enter every 30 minutes, gives the cathedral’s guests a great experience without having to deal with crowds as they gather into this historic building. In the summer, the entrance to the Cathedral is via the main door, which is one of three casts by students of Giambologna. This was redone by his students after the 1595 fire destroyed the original. Otherwise, the entrance any other time of year is via the south transept near the Leaning Tower. Which features the original bronze Door of San Ranieri, created in 1180.
Explore Our Pisa Tours
Half Day Pisa Tour from Florence
Explore the historic Piazza dei Miracoli, Piazza dei Cavalieri and the Famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
1 Hour Guided Pisa Tour
See the fascinating Tower of Pisa and the Square of Miracles, including a tour inside the Cathedral.
Two Hour Pisa Walking Tour
See the best of Pisa including the Square of Miracles, the Leaning Tower, Garibaldi Square and more.