Camposanto (Sacred Field)

Historic Building in Pisa

Camposanto Sacred Field Pisa

According to local legend, Archbishop Ubaldo dei Lanfranchi returned from the Fourth Crusade with numerous shiploads of earth from Golgotha, intending to provide the citizens of Pisa with sacred soil for burial. In 1278, the construction of Camposanto (Sacred Field) commenced, creating a vast rectangular cloister adorned with a gallery of arches embellished with Gothic tracery that opens into the courtyard.

Within the cloister lie the tombs of Pisan patricians on the floor, while Roman sarcophagi line the sides. Originally, the walls of the Camposanto were adorned with exquisite 14th- and 15th-century frescoes. Tragically, a fire, caused by artillery bombardment in 1944, led to the melting of the lead roof, resulting in the destruction or severe damage to the frescoes.

However, this devastating event inadvertently revealed a silver lining—the underlying original sketches of the artists in red pigment on the walls, known as “sinópie.” These sinópie were a crucial part of the fresco creation process, as they specified every detail of the composition. Often, the actual painting of the frescoes was delegated to students and assistants.

Today, these sinópie, along with reproductions of the corresponding frescoes, are displayed in the Museo delle Sinópie. The frescoes that were salvaged have undergone meticulous restoration efforts over the years and have been returned to their rightful place in the cloister.

The Camposanto (Sacred Field) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Pisa!

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Visiting Camposanto (Sacred Field)


January-February, from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm; March-April, from 9:00 am to 7.00 pm; May-June, from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm; July-October, from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm; November-December, from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm.


Adults 7€ (including the Cathedral).

Address: Camposanto, Piazza del Duomo, Pisa Province of Pisa, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes
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