Pisa, The Camposanto Gravestones: In Pictures: The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 2

Tour 2 / The North West Tuscan Way / Pisa, Camposanto Gravestones / 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 2: Pisa. The Camposanto

Part Two: The Gravestones

After a presumably long flight we are at the moment stretching our legs around the vast cool Camposanto.     In stark contrast to the human zoo going on outside and all around the famous tower, the dark lofty cloistered interior of this immense and ancient building would seem to be largely inhabited by fellow tourists equally grateful for a welcome spot of cooling peace and quite.     So take your time, this is a lovely spot in which to unwind.   After all, as you will soon discover, graveyards play a significant role in Italian society. Perhaps its best to get used to wandering around them, right here, right now; for many of the splendid and fantastically old buildings, if not most, that you will visit over the coming days and weeks will, by default, have centuries old, decaying bodies stuffed into practically every corner – a quite sobering thought when you really think about it – all those splendid cathedrals, magnificent castles and palatial palaces – stuffed with old bones, the lot of them.     Italy however would not be Italy without these venerable old buildings, and you just happen to be standing in one of the very finest in the land: The Camposanto, pictured below, adjacent to the crowds.      I’ll leave you to roam the cool, near deserted cloistered hallways at your leisure.     Next up are The Sarcophagi, but for now let’s keep our eyes fixed firmly on the floor.   A floor with much to tell us about past cultures and the societal norms of the day, and therefore,   presumably,   about ourselves.

Pisa, from space by Google Earth.

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

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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and now

the slideshow

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The Gravestones, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Next

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

The North West Tuscan Way, Map 2 Pisa, Google Earth,

The Sarcophagi, Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

 Tour 3: The Camposanto Sarcophagi

c l i c k   here

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