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The construction of the Cathedral of Pisa to all extents and purposes took place in the second half of the 11 th century. The interior plan consists of a nave and four aisles, like the largest early Christian basilicas in Rome, but with a projecting three-aisled transept. Women's galleries run along over the side aisles and an octagonal dome is set at the intersection of the nave and transept.
A large apse terminates the nave and also each arm of the transept. Tall columns articulate the nave, interrupted by four piers which support the drum on which the dome rests, while the women's galleries above look out on the nave through broad two-light openings. The interior of this large church is luminous,
enlivened by the vivacious polychrome decoration as well as by the play of darks and lights which derive from the complex spatial organization. The classic decoration of the capitals in Buscheto's construction are offset by the decidedly more Romanesque decoration with figures on the capitals that belong to the 12th- century prolongation of the Cathedral.
The outstanding work of art that enriches the primatial church of Pisa is the pulpit made by Giovanni Pisano in the first decade of the l4th century to replace the one by Guglielmo which was sent to Cagliari. The pulpit is hexagonal, on a circuiar base, and is carved with Stories from the Lives of St. John the Baptist and Christ in the panels which are divided by figures of Prophets and Saints. It is one of the finest expressions of Italian Gothic sculpture. There is also a lovely ivory statue of the Madonna by Giovanni in the Treasury of the Duomo. The Cathedral also contains the tomb of Arrigo VII by Tino di Camaino. It is however on the exterior that the spiendor of multicolored marbles reaches its zenith. With the exception of the facade, the side walls and the clerestory form an uninterrupted succession of three tiers which encircie the monument. The facade also preserves testimony of the principal creators of the Duomo. In the first arch is the sarcophagus-tomb of Buscheto; above the central portal on the right, an inscription recalls Rainaldo, who began the facade; in the Ieft pilaster, on the level of the sidewalk, is the sepulchral inscription of Master Guglielmo, the scuiptor famous for the first pulpit of the Cathedral - a model that was long in use - and who with his workshop finished the upper part of the facade.
The buiiding was begun in 1152 by Diotisalvi. The ancient chronicler Maragone informs us that in 1164 the columns were set up in only 15 days. In 1260, under the direction of Nicola Pisano, the gallery of small columns was added and the design for the Gothic facing is also his. It must be noted that around the middle of the century the main furnishings for the Baptistery were also in place: the baptismal font by Guido da Como in 1246 and Nicola Pisano's pulpit in 1260. After the middle of the l4th century the conclusive phase in the construction of the Baptistery went into effect when it was decided to cover the building with a dome.
Although the Baptistery, like the other monuments in Pisa, is based on a two-color scheme, the most important decorative feature is its sculpture. Examples are the decoration of the portals, especially the main portal which was given a Madonna by Giovanni Pisano in the lunette, and the rich decoration of the galieries where the human heads (now replaced by copies) at the imposts of the arches were in goodly part by Nicola and
Giovanni Pisano. The imposing ground plan of the Baptistery of Pisa is circular and the rnterior consists of an annular nave covered with vaulting which rests on columns and piers. Over the nave there is a women's gailery which faces onto the interior through arcading supported by piers.
THE CAMPOSANTO MONUMENTALE
The Camposanto was begun in 1278 on a design by Giovanni di Simone who, in 1263, had also built the Hospital on the other side of the square. Entirely faced with marble in two delicate tonalities, the Camposanto is articulated on a rectangular gallery - the long south side marks the edge of the Piazza - around the field of the old cemetery. Outside, the gallery is closed by blind arcading springing from pilaster strips, with sculptured heads at the imposts of the arches. Inside, the gallery faces onto the field through an arcaded portico on piers and with slender four-light openings. The interior walls of the
Camposanto were frescoed, especially in the l4th century, and other tombs were added to those of the illustrious Pisans. At the beginning of the l8tb century antique sarcophagi, many of which had been used as tombs around the Duomo, were also transferred here. in the l9th century ancient and medieval material found in the city was also brought here so today the Camposanto is one of the most important museums in Pisa, thanks also to the important fresco cycles it contains.