The Camposanto has been a cemetery in Pisa since 1278. It is also known as Camposanto Monumentale. Of the four buildings on the Piazza del Duomo it is the most recent one. One of the highlights in this cemetery is a fresco cycle themed “Triumph of Death”. The “Holy Field”is supposed to contain soil from the Holy Land.
Camposanto Monumentale Pisa
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza del Duomo, Pisa, Italy.Opening times: April-September: 8.30-20:00 hrs; March and October: 09.00-18.00 hrs; November-February: 10.00-17.00 hrs. Closed: Never. Entrance fee: 5 Euro.
History and description
Construction of the cemetery called Camposanto was begun in 1278, by Giovanni di Simone. Construction was finally completed during the 16th century.
The exterior is characterized by 43 blind arches. The cemetery has two entrances. The main one is easily recognizable by the Gothic tabernacle crowning the portal.
The cloister is surrounded by corridors beautifully decorated Gothic arches. Wood carvings decorate the Roman sarcophagi placed in the corridors.
Also in the corridors you can see some rings of the chain that used to be attached to the Porto Pisano. In 1284, after the Genovese army had beaten Pisa at Meloria, the victors took this chain to their home town. It was only returned after the unification of Italy.
The cemetery is mostly famous because of its frescoes. Unfortunately, several of these were destroyed by bombs in World War II, however.
Cappella del Pozzo
The Cappella del Pozzo, with its eye-catching dome, is named after the Archbishop of Pisa, Carlo Antonio del Pozzo, and was added to the structure in 1594.
Besides the Capella del Pozzo there are two other chapels in the Camposanto, the Ammanati Chapel and the Aulla Chapel.
Triumph of Death
The most famous frescoes in the Camposanto are part of a cycle titled “Triumph of Death”. The cycle was painted between 1360 and 1380. The frescoes were severely damaged after a bomb hit the cemetery in 1944. During the restoration works designs for the originals were found underneath the actual frescoes. These designs can now be seen in the nearby Museo delle Sinopie.
Beneath the cemetery are the ruins of the Baptistery of the Santa Reparata church. (The church itself stood on the spot where the Duomo is located).