Pisa Cathedral

Bell Tower, Campanile, or Leaning Tower, Pisa, Italy
Bell Tower and Cathedral, Pisa, Italy

A train ride of just over an hour from Florence takes you to the town of Pisa, Italy.  Famous for the leaning bell tower, the complex is also home to the Pisa Cathedral and Baptistry and is known as Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) or Square of Miracles.  The Cathedral’s construction started in 1063 and consecrated in 1118.  Over the years it’s been expanded and also partially rebuilt after a severe fire in 1595.

Baptistry of St. John, Pisa, Italy
Baptistry of St. John, Pisa, Italy

The Pisa Baptistry of St. John  is the largest in Italy.  The marble building has both Romanesque (lower) and gothic sections (upper) and was completed in 1363, two hundred years after construction began.  A computer analysis of the building supports the theory that the original architects designed it to mimic church organ pipes and the building is known for its incredible acoustics which the staff periodically demonstrate.

 

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St. Vitus

St. Vitus Cathedral or St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic
St. Vitus Cathedral (or Cathedral of Saints Vitus,  Wenceslas and Adalbert), Prague, Czech Republic

This church is a little older than the average.  Saint Vitus Cathedral is in central Prague and is the third church on this site.  Construction of this gothic cathedral started in 1344 when the the King of Bohemia wanted a church for coronations, royal burials, and a treasury for the most valuable relics of the kingdom.  Work on different parts of this massive church continued at various times over the next 600 hundred years and was considered finally finished in 1929.  There is a lot of history online with more details and a virtual tour on the church’s website.  In 1997 the church was rededicated as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert.