Pisa, The Camposanto Statuary: In Pictures: The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 1

Tour 1 / The North West Tuscan Way / Pisa, Camposanto Statuary / In Pictures 
Pisa Map from space, by Google

p r e s e n t s

North West Tuscany for the independent tourist

I N   P I C T U R E S

Pisa, from space, Google Earth.

Pisa, from space, Google Earth.

Pisa, from space, Google Earth.

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Tour 1: PISA, The Camposanto

Part One: The Statuary

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Hello and welcome to this the very first North West Tuscan Way Tour.     And congratulations by the way, you were smart… clever you flew in to Pisa International Airport.     Well done.      Conveniently  your aircraft touched down practically in the center of town.      Refreshed from the most powerful nap you have had in years…     quite human again after a long, luxurious shower… when you’re good and ready,   you’ll step out of your compact little European hotel… and straight into another world.  ” Eataly ”       And so – take it easy – this is your first day after all,   and it would be embarrassing all around if you were to find yourself hit by a motorcycle courier, taxi, crowded bus or the like,   not on your first day !

Pisa, Italy

But now, finally, here you are in Italy.     In Pisa! no less – a most wonderful city, crammed with the most amazing sights.

Pisa, Italy

So much to see, so much to do.

Here’s my suggestion: take a nice, long, meandering stroll through as many back streets as it takes to get lost in.     Then head for the Tower.       Don’t just go rushing straight up the thing though – there’ll be plenty of time for that.   It’s got to be right… right before it closes for the evening as it happens, more on that later on in the tour.  No,    head instead for The Camposanto,  right next door.                     You’ll understand when you get there.

Pisa, Italy

Relax. Unwind. There’s plenty of time to see everything, do everything, go everywhere.

Eat, drink and remember…

“…You’re not in the rest of the world now, you’re in Italy”

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Here we are then, time for a little wandering around.        As a frequent visitor to Pisa during my three month Tuscan Adventure I invariably found the Camposanto far less crowded than the neighboring tower and cathedral.            So quiet and peaceful was it,    and so many photos did I take,     that I was compelled to divide them into three separate posts:    The Statuary, The Gravestones, and the The Sarcophagi.      I hope you find this rare collection of ancient-to-fairly-recent sculpture as fascinating as did I.    But more than anything I hope you savored your first glimpse of the extraordinary world… into which you have just been immersed.

Pisa, Italy

As mentioned, Pisa holds a great many extraordinary sights, famous and otherwise, but as we culminate The North West Tuscan Way back here in Pisa, we’ll explore this this magnificent former maritime powerhouse of a city    at some considerable length.

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To read my views, thoughts, and opinions,    as expressed in my ‘Rogue Carver on the Loose’ real time dispatches,    simply click the North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures tab    conveniently located at the top of your screen. Or click on the link below to take you straight there.

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“Many of the sculptures you are about to see trace their origin to the century before last and truth be told the Victorian society bore a striking resemblance to our own;     the rich were fabulously wealthy and the poor knew their place,    but unlike the secretive billionaires of today the uber-rich of the 19th Century had no problem turning the spotlight upon themselves, commissioning a vast amount of statuary and painting upon themselves in dedication to the power and the glory of their tenure upon the earth.                And so it should come as no surprise that when time came for them to conceive and commission their final statement to a world they were about to depart they were ready willing and able to come up with something a little bit special.   ‘Something special’ is definitely how I would describe the sculpture you are about to see.              Clearly money was no object. Even more clear are the technical and artistic skills on display of the sculptors who’s work is, in my view, quite unsurpassed… exquisite in fact.  Quite “Sublime” in fact.

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Camposanto Monumentale    The Campo Santo, also known as Camposanto Monumentale (“monumental cemetery”) or Camposanto Vecchio (“old cemetery”), is a historical edifice at the northern edge of the Cathedral Square in Pisa, Italy.  “Campo Santo” can be literally translated as “holy field”, because it is said to have been built around a shipload of sacred soil from Golgotha, brought back to Pisa from the Fourth Crusade by Ubaldo de’ Lanfranchi, archbishop of Pisa in the 12th century.    A legend claims that bodies buried in that ground will rot in just 24 hours.        The construction of this huge, oblong Gothic cloister was begun in 1278 by the architect Giovanni di Simone.       He died in 1284 when Pisa suffered a defeat in the naval battle of Meloria against the Genoans.    The cemetery was only completed in 1464.   It seems that the building was not meant to be a cemetery, but a church called Santissima Trinità (Most Holy Trinity), but the project changed during the construction.   The outer wall is composed of 43 blind arches. Most of the tombs are under the arcades, although a few are on the central lawn. The inner court is surrounded by elaborate round arches with slender mullions and plurilobed tracery.           The cemetery has three chapels.     The oldest ones are the chapel Ammannati (1360); and the chapel Aulla, were there is an altar made by Giovanni della Robbia in 1518. In this chapel we can see also the original lamp that Galileo Galilei saw, in his time, inside the cathedral and that was shortly replaced by the bigger one we can see now.   The last chapel was Dal Pozzo, commissioned by archbishop of Pisa Carlo Antonio Dal Pozzo in 1594; it has an altar dedicated to St. Jerome and a little dome.     In this chapel in 2009 were transfered the relics of the Cathedral: the relics include among the others eleven of the twelve Apostles, two fragments of the True Cross, a thorn from the Crown of Thorns of Christ and a small piece of the dress of the Virgin Mary.           The walls were once covered in frescoes; the first were applied in 1360, the last about three centuries later.           On 27 July 1944, a bomb fragment from an Allied raid started a fire. Due to all the water tanks being controlled, the fire could not be put out in time, and it burnt the wooden rafters and melted the lead of the roof.      The destruction of the roof severely damaged everything inside the cemetery, destroying most of the sculptures and sarcophagi and compromising all the frescoes.           After World War II, restoration work began.     The roof was restored as closely as possible to its pre-war appearance and the frescoes were separated from the walls to be restored and displayed elsewhere.    The restored frescoes that still exist are gradually being transferred to their original locations in the cemetery, inside the cemetery, to restore the Campo Santo’s pre-war appearance.” wikipedia

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The Statuary, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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and now

the slideshow

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The Statuary, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Next

The North West Tuscan Way, Map 1 Pisa, Google Earth,

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

p r e s e n t s

Tour 2: The Camposanto Gravestones

 c l i c k  here

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