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20 Mar 2013 164 views
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Camposanto Monumentale|

Camposanto Monumentale

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.

comments (8)

  • Frances
  • United States
  • 20 Mar 2013, 00:26
Stunning post! These frescoes are beautiful and captured brilliantly. smile
Lovely to see the fresco in this aged state.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 20 Mar 2013, 07:10
It is a joy to know at least some of the damage has been righted John. This is a fine looking fresco
One of the terrible consequences of war is the destruction of irreplaceable heritage. Thank goodness some has survived
A privilege to see them on our part now.
  • Chad
  • where latitude and attitude meet
  • 20 Mar 2013, 10:38
This is early renaissance work John somewhat similar to Giotto's frescoes. Tonal modelling is shown and also emotion in the faces. Wonderful.
I agree with Bill about the way all these things are lost in times of war, thank goodness some of it still remains.
John, thanks for including the history and congratulations on these photos of the frescoes. You've photographed them with a clarity that clearly represents their intricate beauty. I envy your travel...and am just a little jealous of your photography! Wonderful work!

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