Tuscany’s Famous…doors??


posted by on Visit Tuscany

Doors of Paradise Florence Italy

Doors of Paradise Florence Italy – photo by panoramio.com

Tuscany is well-known for its beautiful monuments and churches. There are many attractions in Florence and Pisa that draw thousands of visitors each year, including the world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, visitors are also keen to visit a couple of very famous doors in Tuscany too!

As well as the Leaning Tower, which stands proudly (if not exactly upright!) in the Piazza dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles, you will also find other famous Pisa attractions; the Baptistery, the Monumental Cemetery and of course, the Duomo. The grand St. Ranieri Duomo of Pisa, which was constructed in the 11th century, is definitely a sight to behold. Even though it has a spectacular façade with three main doors, traditionally worshippers never used these doors to enter the building.

Instead, they entered by a different door; the Porta di San Ranieri, which faces the Leaning Tower. These wonderful bronze doors tell the story of the life of Christ and the Virgin, in various squared panels, with larger ones at the top and bottom of the double doors. The Porta di San Ranieri, (or San Ranieri’s Door) which is situated along the southern transept, was made by Bonanno Pisano. He originally made the three West doors too, but these were later destroyed by fire and only the 4th original door survived.

If you head over to Florence, you’ll also find another very special door. Located in the Florence Baptistery, the Doors or Paradise (or Gates of Paradise) are some of the most intricate and beautiful doors you will ever see. Constructed in gilded bronze by the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti in 1452, they were famously likened to the ‘Gates of Paradise’ by none other than Michelangelo. Claimed to be one of the defining masterpieces of the Renaissance period, the doors depict 10 scenes from the Old Testament.

They took the sculptor years and years to complete, and underwent a complete restoration in the 1990s, as they had been repeatedly damaged, mainly by the environment and also by a great flood in 1966. After they were meticulously cleaned, they were returned to their original position for many more people to admire. Said to be Ghiberti’s best work, the doors succeeded in demonstrating his artistic genius and his reputation rested on them. Nobody before him had managed to create something so big, and indeed so beautiful, in bronze, and he added yet another artistic attraction to an already artistic city.

So as you explore these incredible cities, (try one of our Florence of Pisa tours for size!) just take a moment to linger at the door…

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