Guide to the Piazza del Duomo of Pisa – Second edition
«The sudden sight of the four monuments has an almost overwhelming impact on visitors entering this space, which seems “miraculous”, to echo Gabriele D’Annunzio’s famous description (Maybe – Yes, Maybe – No, 1910).
The buildings appear to be sprouting from a vast regular lawn, but this appearance only dates back to the 19th century, when the square was redesigned in a neo-medieval style, ridding it of many relatively humble buildings and of the vegetable gardens that were still being cultivated there, as can still be seen in 19th-century engravings.
The gravedigger’s house next to the Cemetery, and the gardener’s house, which had been located since the 13th century between the Baptistery and the walls and included a vegetable garden, orchard and high enclosure wall, both went. So too, on the opposite side, did a 16th-century balustrade surrounding the Tower at the back, and all the buildings that marked the eastern boundary of the square (the Chapter House, the House of the Curates and the Church of San Ranierino).
The spectacular backdrop sought after in the 16th century thus disappeared, and the “marvellous slope” of the Bell Tower was further enhanced by the creation of a new road (via Torelli) reaching it from the rear, offering an unprecedented view…»