Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the square includes the monuments called miracles by Gabriele d’Annunzio for their beauty and originality: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Campo Santo, and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The square is pedestrianized and is covered by a large lawn. It assumed its definitive appearance only in the 19th century, under the direction of the architect Alessandro Gherardesca, who demolished some pre-existing buildings and restored the famous monuments.
The square as we know it began to take shape in 1063, when the new cathedral of the city named after Santa Maria Maggiore was erected. At that time, the area remained outside the walls of the city, and was included only in 1156, when an expansion of the city walls was realized by the consul Cocco Griffi.
Three years before the expansion of the walls, the construction of the new Baptistery began, this time placed in front of the church. In 1173, the construction of the bell-tower known today as the Leaning Tower of Pisa started.
Towards the end of the 12th century, the construction of the residence of the canons to the south of the bell-tower began, thus closing the square on the east side. In 1257, the square was bordered to the south by the Ospedale Nuovo di Santo Spirito (New Hospital of Holy Spirit) and to the north, near the walls, by the Campo Santo, built starting with 1277.
The face of the square changed profoundly during the Medici’s dominion of the city. A new gate to the square was built, called Porta Nuova, on the west side of the square, along the road in front of the hospital. The latter was completely modified in Florentine style, losing all original Gothic connotations.
Throughout the Medici and Lorraine period, several buildings were erected in the open spaces. At the end of the 19th century, after the intervention of Alessandro Gherardesca, who contributed to the formation of the square as it appears today, all the buildings erected during the Medici-Lorraine domination were demolished.
The last changes made to the square took place at the beginning of the 20th century, during the Fascist era, when the monument of the Roman she-wolf was placed near the bell-tower, and seventeen cypresses were planted along the eastern end of the square in memory of as many deceased fascist militants.
Between 1912 and 1952, the square was affected by the presence of the tracks and a dedicated stop of the tram network of Pisa.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza dei Miracoli is situated about 1.9 kilometers away from the Pisa Centrale railway station, or about 25 minutes on foot. The closest bus stop is Torre 1, located about 90 meters to the west of the square, on the bus Lines 21, LAM Rossa and Navetta E.