The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Dome of Santa Maria Assunta, at the center of the Piazza dei Miracoli, is the medieval cathedral of Pisa, absolute masterpiece of the Romanesque style.
It was begun in 1063-1064; here various stylistic elements melt. The Cathedral was consecrated in 1118 by Pope Gelasio II, but already in the first half of XII century it was widened. The current aspect of the building is the result of repeated restorations: the first followed the disastrous fire of 1595.
The richest external decoration comprises polychromatic marbles, mosaics and numerous bronze objects.
Beautiful are the ancient bronze portals: the door of San Ranieri is a masterpiece of the metallurgy of the Middle Ages, decorated with scenes of the New Testament. Over the doors there are four rows of opened galleries, with, at the top, Our Lady with the Child and the four evangelists.
The interior is covered with white and black marbles and has a ceiling in gilded wood that brings the crest of the Medici.
The dome is frescoed with the Glory of Mary and Saints, of Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi (1627-31). The mosaic in the apse represents the Majesty of Christ, with Mary and Saint John the Evangelist: it was completed by Cimabue in 1302, and survived miraculously to the fire of 1595.
The pulpit, by Giovanni Pisano (1302-1310), is one of the biggest fourteenth century narrations of the life of Christ.
On the external wall, left of the façade, in front of the Camposanto, there is a marble piece of roman origin (as it testifies the decoration), on which a series of little black holes can be seen. According to the legend they would be the signs left By the Devil when he climbed onto the church to stop of the construction, so they are called "unghiate del Diavolo" (scratches of the Devil).