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The Camposanto Monumentale

In its candour, the building forms an outstanding backdrop for the inspiring stage setting of the Piazza dei Miracoli. The elongated fašade which faces the square is built of regular limestone ashlars, ornamented by slightly projecting pilaster strips which support the elegant row of blind arcading. The entrance on the right is surmonted by a splendid Ghotic tabernacle, enriched by tracery and pinnacles and with a sculptural group of the Virgin and Child with Saints and a kneeling figure, through to be the work of artists of the circle of Giovanni Pisano (14th century). Construction of the Camposanto, which in its size and in the unique placement of the architecture resembles a great unroofed basilica, was begun in 1278 by Giovanni di Simone. It is traditionally said that the earth in the center of the spacious cloister was brought from the Holy Land by the Pisan galleys, commanded by Archbishop Lanfranchi, after the Crusade of 1200. Construction, apparently continued in the 14th century under the direction of Lupo di Francesco, seems to have been terminated in the latter half of the 15th century. In 1593 Archbishop Dal Pozzo had the Reinassance chapel of the same name, and crowned by a dome, built.

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