We felt rather privileged to be shown round the empty Camposanto by a knowledgeable guide who could explain the detail of the frescoes. The Cathedral and leaning tower are next to the Camposanto and were extremley busy. Said to be built around a shipload of sacred soil bought back to Pisa in the 12th century. Tragically, many of the frescoes have been destroyed or damaged. In 1944, during the Second World War, incendiary bombs dropped during an Allied air raid set the roof on fire. The burning wood rafters caused the lead of the roof to melt. The molten lead caused severe damaged to everything inside the cemetery, destroying most of the sculptures and sarcophagi as well as most of the frescoes.
After World War II ended, a massive restoration project began. The roof was restored as closely as possible to its pre-war appearance and the frescoes were separated from the walls to be restored.
The first painting was applied already in 1360 and many more have been added along the years. The last one was applied almost 300 years later, in the mid 15th century. Perhaps the most famous one is “The triumph of death”, by Buonomico Buffalmacco.