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Galileo's "Laws of Pendulum" lamp inside the Cathedral (Duomo) at Campo di Miracoli, Pisa

Most people know Pisa's famous Leaning Tower. Fewer know that it's just one component in a lovely ensemble of medieval buildings; fewer still know that the rest of the city -- sadly -- is a largely modern place, the result of heavy bombing during Second World War.

Campo del Miracoli is a large grassy piazza that contains the Leaning Tower (Torre Pendente), the Cathedral (Duomo), the above Baptistry (Battistero), and the cemetary (Camposanto).

The Tower's drama detracts from the Duomo - among Italy's finest Romanesque buildings - which in any other place would be a must-see masterpiece. The work here began about a century earlier than the tower, in 1064, well before the start of the present-day cathedrals in rival cities such as Florence (1296) and Siena (1179).

In this photo we see a hanging lamp inside the cathedral. There is a story that young Galileo started thinking about his famous Laws of Pendulum while watching the swing of this lamp during a Sunday mass.

Last Revised October 5, 2007

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