This grandiose masterpiece of Romanesque - Pisa Style was started in the year 1063 by the great architect Buschetto. It is therefore, the first work undertaken in the spot that became later the "Piazza dei Miracoli". It was possible because of the enormous wealth amassed by the powerful Sea Republic which at that time Pisa was, particularly after a successful excursion on Palermo. The Cathedral was consecrated in the year 1118, even though still incomplete, by Pope Gelasio II. It was terminated in the 13th century, with the erection of the façade, unchanged up to today, by Rainaldo.
The Cathedral, designed in Latin-Cruciform, basically has a romanesque architectural style, but at the same time interprets and absorbs elements of various styles, forming thus a unique style which has something of sublime. The Cathedral was adorned through the years with numerous works of art. Giovanni Pisano is certainly the artist who excels in these works, especially because he has given us the famous, extremely rich and ingenious Pergamo (Pulpit).
For a brief idea of its dimensions, the Cathedral is about one hundred meters long and 54 meters high. The façade is 35,40 mts wide. It is 34,20 mts high, hence both imposing and of an ingenious and grandiose conception. The façade of The Cathedral is articulated in five orders of arches, the inferior of which has seven blind arches; the two lateral gates, and one central gate, are separated by columns and pilasters.
In the year 1595 a furious fire broke out and destroyed these gates (as well as the ceiling and other works inside) hence the gates of today are not the original ones of Bonanno, but those made by the artists of the school of Giambologna, i. e. Francavilla, Mocchi, Tacca.
Cathedral of Pisa: interior
In order to enjoy all the majesty of the temple, before stopping here and there, we advise you to stop near the inner will of the cathedral façade. From here the view is total and its effect is such to convey a deep religion feeling.
To this feeling is added a sense of bewilderment, as we stand before the vastness and profoundity of every architectural and sculptural work, as if not the hand of the man but a divine wall had aimed at creating what we are admiring.
If we place ourselves in the middle of the nave,near the inner wall of the cathedral, our attention will be drawn to the long line of the imposing granite colonnades, which are almost all antique and ave capitals of Corinthian style. Then the women's gallery with little loggias located above the nave, the rich, highly decorated lacunar ceiling, the ample, profound, terminal apse whereon Christ on his throne contrasts, will complete our admiration.
In brief everything including the play of the minor colonnades, the black and white panels, which line the walls, helps to give vivacity and movement to the grandiose realization of the temple.
Let us now pass to its description and to the visit. Internally it is divided into five aisles, one central major aisle and the minor ones two on each side. The transept has three aisles. Against the second line of columns of the central nave there are two holy water founts.
The statues there on are, on one side, Jesus and on the other side St. John the Baptist (17th century, of F. Palma).