Duomo : Michelin's recommendations
The cathedral was begun in 1063 and finished in the middle of the 12C. It was financed by the fabulous booty liberated in Sicily from the Saracens. It is vast, with a long nave, a powerful transept and an apse with strong projections. The cathedral of Pisa is built in the form of a Latin cross and produces a strong impression of equilibium. Yet the storeyed galleries on the facade, the motif of blind arcades and the appearance of alternating light and dark marble flagstones create a graceful and light effect which makes one forget the huge design of the building. The facade is decorated with fine geometric motifs and is remarkable but the most famous part is the door of St Rainier, opposite the Leaning Tower with wonderful Romanesque bronze panels by Bonanno Pisano (12C) which follow the life of Christ in 20 small panels. The incessant flow of visitors makes it difficult to stop for any length of time in front of these extraordinary little tableaux, unless you are a Prop forward in your local rugby team or you have taken up Sumo wrestling since your trip to Japan! Carried inside by the crowd like a straw in the wind, there is a wonderful multiplicity of perspectives created by the play of 68 columns and there is the splendid pulpit that Giovanni Pisano took nearly ten years to sculpt... As for Galileo's lamp, it inspired the noble scientist to develop his theories on pendulum movements.