The next morning we arrived at Pisa, where I met my old friend, Mr. Thomas Henshaw, who was then newly come out of Spain, and from whose company I never parted till more than a year after.

The city of Pisa1 is as much worth seeing as any in Italy; it has contended with Rome, Florence, Sardinia, Sicily, and even Carthage. The palace and church of St. Stefano (where the order of knighthood called by that name was instituted) drew first our curiosity, the outside thereof being altogether of polished marble; within, it is full of tables relating to this Order; over which hang divers banners and pendants, with other trophies taken by them from the Turks, against whom they are particularly obliged to fight; though a religious order, they are permitted to marry. At the front of the palace stands a fountain, and the statue of the great Duke Cosmo.

The Campanile, or Settezonio, built by John Venipont ((Some authors have this architect named as “Giovanni Tedesco” – i.e John German or “Giovanni d’Innspruck” – John of Innsbruck.  Given that the ancient name for Innsbruck is “Oenipons”, I think Evelyn was was using an anglacised form of this architect’s name. Source: “The Cathedral Builders: The Story of a Great Masonic Guild” By Leader Scott. —GS)). , a German, consists of several orders of pillars, thirty in a row, designed to be much higher. It stands alone on the right side of the cathedral, strangely remarkable for this, that the beholder would expect it to fall, being built exceedingly declining, by a rare address of the architect; and how it is supported from falling I think would puzzle a good geometrician.

“Vedute dei quattro rinomati edifizi della citta di Pisa,” or “Four of the important buildings of Pisa, including the famous ‘Leaning Tower’ by Marrona (Alessandro). c. 1760. Source: cigv.it

The Duomo, or Cathedral, standing near it, is a superb structure, beautified with six columns of great antiquity; the gates are of brass, of admirable workmanship. The cemetery called Campo Santo is made of divers galley ladings of earth formerly brought from Jerusalem, said to be of such a nature, as to consume dead bodies in forty hours.2 ‘Tis cloistered with marble arches; and here lies buried the learned Philip Decius, who taught in this University.

“Cathédrale de Pise”, Pierre-Joseph Garrez. 1800. Source: BnF.

At one side of this church stands an ample and well-wrought marble vessel, which heretofore contained the tribute paid yearly by the city to Cæsar. It is placed, as I remember, on a pillar of opal stone, with divers other antique urns. Near this, and in the same field, is the Baptistery of San Giovanni, built of pure white marble, and covered with so artificial a cupola, that the voice uttered under it seems to break out of a cloud. The font and pulpit, supported by four lions, is of inestimable value for the preciousness of the materials. The place where these buildings stand they call the Area.

Hence, we went to the College, to which joins a gallery so furnished with natural rarities, stones, minerals, shells, dried animals, skeletons, etc., as is hardly to be seen in Italy. To this the Physic Garden lies, where is a noble palm tree, and very fine waterworks. The river Arno runs through the middle of this stately city, whence the main street is named Lung ‘Arno. It is so ample that the Duke’s galleys, built in the arsenal here, are easily conveyed to Livorno; over the river is an arch, the like of which, for its flatness, and serving for a bridge, is nowhere in Europe. The Duke has a stately Palace, before which is placed the statue of Ferdinand the Third; over against it is the Exchange, built of marble. Since this city came to be under the Dukes of Tuscany, it has been much depopulated, though there is hardly in Italy any which exceeds it for stately edifices. The situation of it is low and flat; but the inhabitants have spacious gardens, and even fields within the walls.


  1. Addison calls Pisa “still the Shell of a great City, tho’ not half furnish’d with Inhabitants”(Remarks on Italy, 1705, p. 400). —AD 

  2. Archbishop Ubaldo, 1188-1200, the founder of the cemetery, brought the earth from Palestine. Cf. account of St. Innocent’s Churchyard, at Paris, ante, p. 41. “I have been often at St. Innocents church yard, and have seen them dig up bones which have been very rotten after 3 weeks or a month’s interrement. The flesh must needs then bee corrupted in a far shorter space” (Edward Browne to his father, 17th May, 1664, Sir T. Browne’s Works, 1836, i. 61.).