Piazza del Duomo, Italy

Home to the leaning tower of Pisa



CyArk scanning the baptistery at Piazza del Duomo in Pisa by CyArk Project PartnersCyArk

Expedition Overview

In February 2005 and July 2006, teams from the Development of Integrated Automatic Procedures for the Restoration of Monuments (DIAPReM) from the University of Ferrara, the Institute of Science and Information Technology of the National Research Council in Pisa and the Department of Architectural Design at the University of Florence conducted a High Definition Survey of the Piazza del Duomo. The data was acquired from 30 positions and was focused on the exterior parts of the Cathedral, the Campanile and the Baptistery. The 3D survey was coordinated and georeferenced with a topographical survey conducted by the DIAPReM team. The final 3D laser scan survey data was registered within the topographic survey with an average error of 3mm and fused into a master dataset (point cloud) that contains a total of 256,653,388 points.

Detail of the entrance to the baptistery at Piazza del Duomo in Pisa by CyArk Project PartnersCyArk

Introducing the Piazza del Duomo

Pisa's Piazza del Duomo, also known as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) is located north of the Arno river and measures nearly nine square hectares. Unlike the paved piazza's typical of Italy, the Piazza del Duomo is an expansive green grassy field dominated by four monumental works of architecture in luminous dressed stone and white marble. The site is made up of the renowned cathedral, baptistery, campanile, and monumental cemetery which provides an edge on the north side of the site.Built over the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, their existence as four individual entities is typical of Italian architectural practice of this era. 

Image of registered laser scan data of campanileCyArk


The campanile, known better as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, with its infamous inclination is the one of the most well known monuments in the world, but the history of its construction is less well known. Inscriptions from the base near the door indicated that it was founded in 1173. As the tower has been leaning since shortly after its initial construction due to unstable substrate soils, numerous attempts at reconstruction and stabilization of the campanile in the succeeding centuries have been made. The circular shape and great height (currently 55.86 m on the lowest side and 56.70 m on the highest) of the campanile were unusual for their time, and the crowning belfry is stylistically distinct from the rest of the construction.

Open Heritage 3D (2019) by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible with the following partners:

DIAPReM University of Ferrara

Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell’Informazione “A. Faedo”

Department of Architectural Design at the University of Florence

Ministero per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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