Located in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square), on the west coast of Italy, the Baptistery of Pisa forms one of the four buildings. In fact, it comes second in the chronological order, neighboring the Duomo di Pisa, the cathedral, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
It is an ecclesiastical building, and throughout history, it has played a keen role in the religious scene in Pisa. This actually shows in the multiple architectural veils that it is draped in. The lower side has arches and pillars that hint towards the Romanesque style, but the upper levels show a stark Gothic style with pointed figures and closely spaced pillars.
The entrance to the edifice is covered with ornate pillars and reliefs, in which the upper one depicts the life of Saint John and the middle one shows Christ flanked by Saint John and Madonna and surrounded by several angels.
The Baptistery of Pisa – Where Galileo Was Baptized
This baptistery is famous for its architecture and also for the following things.
1. The Acoustics
Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni Pisano have done an outstanding job by designing the interior that it facilitates reverberations or acoustics. Anyone standing below the edge of the dome can have his voice echoed. Every 30 minutes, one of the employees would sing loud to demonstrate the power of its acoustics.
2. The Pulpit
Although the interior is rather drab, what stands out in all of the drabness is the pulpit. Beautifully sculpted by Nicola Pisano, it still stands as a mark of an architectural feat.
3. The Balconies
You can go up to the balconies. The door is so small you won’t notice it’s there. Once you get inside, find it on your left.
The stained glass windows of the balconies, especially the upper one, offer a breathtaking view of the Duomo Cathedral, and the rest of the Piazza dei Miracoli.
4. It is Leaning
Although it is not perceivable by the human eye, the Baptistery of Pisa leans towards the cathedral by 0.6 degrees. This has been because of the notorious liquefaction of the ground underneath Piazza dei Miracoli.
5. Galileo was Baptized Here
This baptistery has baptized many famous personalities and Galileo Galilei is one of them. He was baptized in 1564.
The Baptistery of Pisa is one of the marvels of the 16th century, which continues to attract people from around the world. It is almost like a round time machine: You get transported to the time when the likes of Galileo used to be where you stand.
Where to stay – Hostel in Pisa
The best hostel I’ve stayed in Italy is Hostel Pisa. It’s a bit pricey (not your regular hostel price) but it’s worth it for a night of stay. There’s really not much to do in the city, except the area around where the leaning tower is. The hostel is clean and the staff are amazing. They have a restaurant/cafe that turns into a bar at night. They’ve got a small souvenir shop, too. Wifi connection is ok all over the hostel and they have a small elevator. It would take 20-30 minutes walk to the leaning tower, passing through a bridge and seeing numerous local shops. I’d recommend you to walk because it’s a great way to get to know the city and its people.