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Visit the Square of Miracles, Pisa’s Renaissance architectural complex

Leaning Tower of PisaSquare of Miracles

In its heyday (roughly between 1000-1300 AD), Pisa was a maritime power with strong dominance over the sea, trading into the Mediterranean and even as far as Syria. In fact, it even gained control over Sicily and Corsica, and rivaled Genoa in the north. The construction of the Square of Miracles (or Piazza dei Miracoli in Italian), a patch that’s partly paved and grassed, was a testament to its power and prosperity. 

It contains four world-famous buildings: The Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Leaning Tower and the Camposanto. Additionally, it also houses the Sinopie Museum and the Opera del Duomo Museum. In 1987, UNESCO declared the Square as a World Heritage Site. 

Where is the Square of Miracles?

The Square of Miracles is not strictly within city limits, being situated along the north-western edge of the city’s fortified wall. It was originally near a port and along the banks of a river that no longer exists.

Nearest landmark: Botanical Garden and Museum, 2.6 km away.

Monuments inside the Piazza dei Miracoli

The Square of Miracles is a plot that’s about 21.9 acres in size. Christians believe that its monuments symbolize the fundamental transitions of life: birth, living and death. It has the following main buildings in its area.

How did the Square of Miracles get its name?

The Square was named by the Italian writer Gabriele d’Annunzio, who mentioned it in his novel Forse che sì forse che no in the 20th century. He also referred to it as the ‘Prato dei Miracoli’ or ‘Meadow of Miracles’.

Know before you go to the Square of Miracles

  • While it’s possible to visit the Square of Miracles for free and see its monuments from outside at no cost, entry to individual buildings will have a fee. Please check your ticket when booking to confirm which buildings grant visiting access.
  • Since the Leaning Tower is the most popular attraction in the Square of Miracles, always pre-book your tickets as you can’t buy them on the spot, and tickets sell out quickly — especially during peak season.
  • While you can visit the buildings in the Piazza dei Miracoli in any order you like, it is recommended that you start at the Baptistery, make your way to the Cathedral and the Leaning Tower, and then end your tour at the Camposanto.
  • Set aside 4-5 hours to fully explore each monument in the Square of Miracles. 
  • If you’re planning to visit the Baptistery and Cathedral, make sure your shoulders and knees are covered.



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Other buildings inside the Square of Miracles

While these buildings came after the main four monuments, they are still included as part of the Square of Miracles.

Sinopie Museum

Sinopia are the rare and early practice drawings of frescoes that adorned the Camposanto. These trace markings were made on the first layer of plaster, with red pigments mixed with water. When the original frescoes were rescued after a fire raged through the Camposanto during WW2, the sinopias were uncovered beneath them and later shifted to the museum.

Opera del Duomo Museum

Established in 1986, the museum houses a collection of sculptures, paintings, and archaeological finds originally from the nearby Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery. The museum also displays architectural fragments from the Cathedral facade, including bas reliefs and capitals. You'll find sarcophagi and liturgical furnishings like exultet scrolls (parchment rolls used in religious ceremonies).

Frequently asked questions about the Square of Miracles

Is entry to the Square of Miracles free?

While entry to the Square itself is free, access to the individual buildings such as the Leaning Tower, Baptistery, etc. may require you to pay a fee. Do check your tickets at the time of booking to confirm payment and entry details.

Which is the most famous building in the Square of Miracles?

Arguably, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most sought-after monument in the Cathedral complex. However, the allure of the Pisa Cathedral, as well as the size and scale of the Baptistery, make these monuments compelling too.

Why was the Square of Miracles built in Pisa?

The Square was a testament to Pisa’s maritime clout and expansive influence. Being a wealthy port city, Pisans wanted to showcase their architectural and cultural might through impressive buildings. 

What was the first building to be constructed in the Sqaure of Miracles?

The first monument to be constructed was the Cathedral in 1064. Almost a century later, construction of the Baptistery began. This was followed by the Leaning Tower in the 12th century. The Camposanto was the last main building to be completed.

How long do I need to spend at the Square of Miracles?

You can set aside 4-5 hours to see the monuments inside the Square of Miracles. This includes visits to the four main monuments as well as the Sinopie Museum and the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Can visitors on wheelchairs access the Square of Miracles?

Visitors using wheelchairs can access most of the monuments in the Square of Miracles except the Leaning Tower, which must be climbed. 

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