Santa Maria Assunta
Piazza dei Miracoli
Riding on the invasion coat-tails of the Normans as they wrested
Sicily from the Saracens, Pisa brought back much booty from their sack of
Palermo and put it towards the building of a Duomo in keeping with their
These were to be Pisa's glory days, and the Piazza
del Duomo became the heart of the city's religious and communal life.
Work began on the Duomo in 1063 and finished in 1092. The architect was Buscheto di Giovanni
Guidice, with a design inspired by antiquity, his own
San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno.
The building had still not been completed when it was
consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118, by which date Buscheto had died. The
work was continued by the architect Rainaldo, consisting of the enlargement of
the nave and transepts and a new facade, in the early 12th century,
finishing in 1180. The building was partly destroyed by fire 1595, blame
on workmen repairing the roof, after which the roof
Rich, with various marbles and mosaic and objects (spolia) looted in 1061. The
main entrance has always been the side door, of Saint Rainerius, as this
faces the direction from which the city would arrive. This door, the only
one not destroyed in the 1595 fire, was cast c.1180 by Bonanno Pisano and is decorated with 24 bronze relief sculptures of scenes from the New
Testament. A copy is in place now, the original being in the Opera museum.
The nave is ten bays long, Romanesque, with altars at 1, 4, 7, and
10, behind a pair of aisles each side. Above are galleries, called
matronei, as they were for women, and a clerestory level with slim
windows. There's a wooden 17th-century coffered ceiling, the work of
Domenico and Bartolomeo Atticciati. It is painted and gilded and features
the Medici coat of arms.
The side altars have mostly 16th and 17th century paintings. These include
Our Lady of Graces with Saints, by Andrea del Sarto, and the Virgin
Enthroned with Saints in the right transept by Perin del Vaga, both
finished by Giovanni Antonio Sogliani. The Disputa del Sacramento by
Francesco Vanni, and the Crucifixion with Saints by Genoan Giovanni Battista
Paggi. Locally venerated is the 13th-century Virgin and Child, attributed to Berlinghiero
Berlinghieri of Volterra.
Although a Latin cross in plan it was originally a Greek cross. The elliptical dome over the crossing came even later. The dome painting
depicts the Virgin in Glory with Saints by Pisan artists Orazio and
Girolamo Riminaldi from the early 17th century and was painted using
encaustic, not a common choice of medium. Restoration took
place from 2015 to 2018.
On the left before the crossing is Giovanni Pisano's famous
pulpit from 1302-1310. It was dismantled 1599-1601, following the 1595
fire, and only returned in 1926, with bits missing, including the
staircase. There's a monochrome plaster cast of it, including the staircase, made
in 1865, in the cast court of the Victoria and Albert museum in London.
The transept arms are very long, the left one all scaffoldinged up (June
2023). The granite Corinthian columns between the nave and the apse
come from the mosque of Palermo, and are more spolia from 1063
There's a considerable area of mid-12th century Cosmati pavement in front
of high altar. The bronze crucifix and the angel candleholders on the ends
of the marble transenna were made by Giambologna. The dome was frescoed
with The Assumption in 1627-30 by Orazio Riminaldi. It was restored in
2018, as were the Four Evangelists in the pendentives by
There is no access to the east end, which is all red-roped off. So
you can't see the following.
The 27 paintings behind the high altar in three rows which depict Stories from the Old
Testament and The Life of Christ and were made in the 16th and 17th
centuries, mostly by Tuscan artists, including Andrea del Sarto (three
works: Saint Agnes, Saints Catherine and Margaret, and Saints Peter and
John the Baptist) il Sodoma, and Domenico Beccafumi (Stories of
Moses and the Evangelists).
The mosaic in the apse is of Christ Enthroned with the Virgin and Saint
John. The face of Saint John was painted by Cimabue in 1302. It is
his last work and the only one for which there is
documentation. The mosaic was mostly made by Francesco da Pisa, and
completed by Vincino da Pistoia, with the Virgin on the left side in 1320.
Also medieval is the early 14th century fresco of the Virgin and Child in the
triumphal arch by Pisan artist the Maestro di San Torpè.
Other fresco fragments include Saint Jerome on one of the four
central pillars, as well as Saint John the Baptist, Saints Cosmas and
Damian, and a Crucifixion on one of the pillars near the
entrance, partially hidden by the entrance.
The right transept (see photo right) is devoted to the relics of Saint Rainerius, the
12th-century patron saint of Pisa, in a glass-sided coffin.
This area is also largely roped off. Also in the right transept, on the
east wall and also behind ropes, is the marble tomb of the Holy Roman
Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg (visible to the left in the photo to
the right), who died at Buonconvento whilst laying siege to Florence.
It was sculpted by Tino da Camaino between 1313-1315 and has been much
dismantled and remade. It was originally sited in the apse to signal the
city's Ghibelline sympathies. Such political reasons made for much
movement within the church, and it was eventually broken up, with some
parts remaining in the church, some on the façade, some in the Camposanto,
and some in the Duomo's Opera museum. A plaster cast of it, made in 1865,
is in the cast court of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (see
below). The right transept also contains unfinished fresco decoration,
including three posing putti, by Perin del Vaga from c.1534.
Lost art in San Matteo
Two panels from a predella, showing two scenes
from the Life of Saint Cecelia by Bernardo Daddi from 1330-35.
A panel from a polyptych by Spinello Aretino from the late 14th century
showing Saints John the Baptist, James and Anthony Abbot and a
Coronation of the Virgin with Angel Musicians panel.
Many myths and legends exist to explain the famous leaning
tower, but the
fact is that it's built on soft and unstable topsoil. Work on the
unusually cylindrical campanile began,
architect unknown, on 9th August 1173, whilst work on the baptistery was
in full swing and work on the Duomo dragged on. Construction halted in 1178 three stories up, resumed in
1272, ninety-eight years later, directed by Giovanni di Simone, and reached the 7th cornice in 1278,
when work stopped again. The first commission to investigate the tower's
tilt convened in 1298, presided over by sculptor and architect Giovanni Pisano.
The completion on construction came in 1370. For more than 500 years the
pretty stable in its tilt, until 1838 when architect Alessandro della Gherardesca's intervention, excavating a walkway around the tower, flooded
the base and set the tower tilting more. In 1840 there was a second
commission to investigate the slowly increasing leaning and there were to
be many more of them in the 20th century, until the 17th in 1990, convened
the year after the campanile was closed. In 1995 work to attach
underground cables to the tower resulted in Black September, when it
nearly collapsed. In 1999 the soil extraction that was to prove successful
in stabilising the tower was begun, with success declared, and
celebrations, in 2001.
Building work began in 1152 and the architect was Deotisalvi already
responsible for Santo Sepulcro. It's said to be the biggest baptistery in Italy, based
(even more than usual) on the Holy Sepulchre
in Jerusalem. The diameter of the Baptistery is exactly the same as the
width of the Duomo's facade and the length of the Duomo is the same as the
distance between the doors of the Baptistery and Duomo. The figures of
The Virgin Between Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist by
Giovanni Pisano, from c.1330, once in the outside lunette over the
baptistery door, are now in the Opera Museum.
An impressively plain and stripey space inside, especially
when viewed from the gallery, but the dome is disappointingly
undecorated. The spiral staircase used to reach the gallery are also
credited to Deotisalvi.
The pulpit of 1260 is the work of Nicola Pisano, who was not from Pisa,
classical-inspired, and by the Roman Phaedra sarcophagus repurposed in the Duomo for
Christian burial, and later moved into the Camposanto. The Pisano pulpit
was commissioned by Archbishop Federico Visconti, probably to celebrate
the lifting of Papal Interdict, imposed in in 1241 in punishment for the
abduction of a delegation of cardinals and bishops on their way to Rome.
The sculptured panels, depicting the Life of Christ, feature the first three nail crucifixion in Italy,
although it had become common in
Lorenzo de Medici had the heads Pisano
had carved in the Last Judgement cut
off to be put in his collection of roman antiquities. The replacements
too. Siena wanted one (1265-8) and its contract was signed here in
front of this one. A monochrome cast of it, from 1864, is in the cast
court of the Victoria and Albert museum in London.
Begun in 1278, on a vegetable plot,
donated by Archbishop Federico Visconti, who commissioned the work, over the ruins of the old baptistery
of the church of Santa Reparata, the church which once stood where
the Duomo now stands, this is a cloister cemetery like no
other. The last element of the Piazza del Duomo to be built, the architect was Giovanni
di Simone, who had also built the Spedale Nuove (which the Sinopia Museum
now occupies) and the campanile of San Francesco. The blind arcading outside gives
way, through the door on the south side, to a garth surrounded by a
cloister pierced by unglazed gothic windows.
The earth in the garth was, legend has it, from Calvary, brought back from
Jerusalem after the crusades in 1200, and said to miraculously consume the
flesh of corpses in just a few hours.
The extravagantly gothic tabernacle over the main entrance
(currently - June 2023 - undergoing
restoration) contains a Virgin and Child Between Saints, Angels
and a Kneeling Devotee by Lupo di Francesco, a pupil of Giovanni
Pisano. The marble Crucifix by Nino Pisano for the lunette of the western
door is now in San Michele in Borgo.
On 27th July 1944 allied bombing created a fire in the Camposanto when a
stray shell hit the roof. It spread quickly in the dry roof timbers. There
was no water as the mains had been cut, the few Italian volunteers on the
spot could do little, and the Germans could, or would, do nothing to help.
Within four hours the whole cloister roof had burned. Its destruction dripped hot lead
onto the floor and tomb sculptures, cracking the latter, and beams crashed
into the frescoed walls.
Damage varied from the irreparable (The
Assumption by Stefano da Firenze) to the serious damage that the works
below has seen repaired with the varying degrees of expertise and success
over the decades. Reports at the time said that beside the more serious
damage the colours had changed, but it as admitted that this was hard to
evaluate as the lack of the roof resulted in the unprecedented
illumination of the frescoes under an open sky. Further damage resulted
from German shelling of northern Pisa on September 23rd and 24th and
Frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries (The ones on the side you enter
are much the less faded.)
Assuming you enter through the entrance up the path
to the right of the entrance to the Baptistery, whilst the central door is
When entering I suggest you go around clockwise. The short wall
after the entrance cabin has Stories of Job, by Taddeo Gaddi
(end of 14th century) mostly now in shades of sand and terracotta. Turning
into the short west end you'll find monuments, it's the same the other end
- the long corridors have floor tombs and Roman sarcophaguses. This end
has my fave tomb (see below) by Giovanni Duprè, from 1863-7, for astronomer and
physicist Ottaviano Fabrizio Mossotti. The figure is Urania, the Muse of astronomy. The 16th and 17th century frescoes here provide a pleasant blotchy background
to the tombs.
The huge disc of the Creation of the World begins the Old Testament cycle
in the north corridor which Piero di Puccio from Orvieto, began in 1388, as shown much
more vividly than they are now in the painting (right) . He only
completed The Creation, The Story of Adam and and some early scenes
from the Life of Noah before, two years later, work ceased, possibly
because of the city's dire financial state.
An artist was later sought to complete the Old Testament cycle abandoned
70 years before. Benozzo Gozzoli, possibly due to his Medici connections,
was asked to paint a trial fresco of The Drunkenness of Noah, and
got the job, on 17th January 1469. His work stretches the remaining length
of the north corridor. They are very pale and much damaged, having
suffered the most from the 1945 bombing. A factor in the seriousness of
the damage was the unusual mixing of plaster of Paris with the pigments,
Superintendent P. Sanpaolesi reported at the time, this causing the
plaster to blister and crack. The detail
(right) is from The Building of the Tower of Babel.
There are three chapels, two along this wall. The
first, and oldest, is now the entrance to the restoration lab. It's
called the Ammannati (1360) getting its name from the tomb of Ligo
Ammannati, a teacher in the University of Pisa,. Then there's the Aulla,
which has an altar depicting The Assumption with Saints and Prophets, made by Giovanni della Robbia in 1518.
He was the grandnephew of Luca and his work is usually in deeper relief
and with more colours than his granduncle's. Hanging above is the original
incense lamp used by Galileo Galilei to calculate pendular movements.
The third, at the east end, is the Dal Pozzo, commissioned by Carlo
Antonio Dal Pozzo, archbishop of Pisa, in 1594. The relics belonging to
the cathedral were translated here in 2009. They include relics of eleven
of the twelve Apostles, two fragments of the True Cross, a thorn from the
Crown of Thorns and a small piece of the Virgin Mary's dress. There are
helpful printed panels showing where to find each relic.
Continuing clockwise the east short end has more tombs, the entrance to
the Dal Pozzo reliquary chapel and frescoes of The Passion by
Francesco Traini and Buffalmacco from 1336/41 in the south-west
Then the long south wall back along to the entrance, with the vivider and
more action-packed frescoes, recently restored and returned to their
original postion. These depict The Triumph of Death, The Last
Judgement (see below right), Hell, The Triumph of Death, and The Thebaid (stories
of the Desert Fathers), are usually attributed to Buffalmacco, and were
painted in the years after the Black Death.
This wall ends, after the central wooden door, with Andrea di Bonaiuti and
Antonio Veneziano's (and Spinello Aretino) Story of San Ranieri and
Stories of Saints Ephysius and Potitus by Spinello Aretino (between
1377 and 1391) all pretty pale and damaged.
Some unusually big sinopie from the Camposanto, revealed by the 1945
bombing and the post-war
work, are now on display in the Sinopie Museum, housed in the Spedale
Nuove, founded in 1257. The museum opened in 1979.
Madonna dei Galletti
Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti
Documents from 1227 tell of a church on this
site called San Salvatore in Porta Aurea, the latter being a southern gate
in the medieval walls. The church gets its name from a fresco of The
Virgin and Child attributed to Taddeo di Bartolo which, we are told,
was found in a biscuit box in 1640 during the demolition of some
surrounding buildings belonging to the Galletti family. At this
time, between 1642 and 1652, a new new high altar was built, where the
fresco was installed, and remains, and a carved and gilded wooden ceiling
by Carlo Del Norcia with five canvases was added. Other work was carried
out around 1722 when the church attained a Greek cross plan and a
side altar was built. The baroque façade was added in 1757, to designs by Ignazio Pellegrini.
An aisleless nave with a chapel each side. Art by Jacopo Vignali, Cecco
Bravo, Lorenzo Lippi, and Francesco Curradi. The photo (right) is
via Pietro Gori
A church built from 1401, along with a
Cistercian convent, on the site of the Osnello hospital, named after its
founder, which was first mentioned in 1189 and was a shelter for pilgrims and
In 1444 the nuns rebuilt the complex, which later underwent more
renovation. In 1616 the building and its floor were raised and in the mid-18th-century it attained its current form. The Cistercian nuns remained
until the early 19th-century when, upon suppression, they moved to San Silvestro.
The church is now a scruffy arts and community centre (see right) called the Cantiere
San Bernardo, but is crumbling
due to local government neglect.
Baroque, with gilt plasterwork by Antonio Ferri. Frescoes on
the ceiling of Stories from the Life of Saint Bernard by Tommaso Tommasi.
Two mid-18th-century frescos on the walls at the east end by G. Battista Tempesti in
Piazza S. Paolo a Ripa D'Arno
A late-14th-century church was replaced by
the current 17th century baroque one, during which process the 15th-century frescoes inside were destroyed. The current facade was built in
1850. In 1862 the church housed the relics of
Saint Stephen before their final transfer to Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
The church and former Vallombrosan convent are/were a gym and a study centre of the Casa di Risparmio
A 13th century Processional Cross from the Vallombrosan
monastery here is in the San Matteo gallery.
19th- century and severely damaged during WWII.
Built in 1385, by Pietro di Andrea
Gambacorti, ruler of Pisa from 1363 to 1392,
next to the Dominican convent where his daughter, the beatified Chiara Gambacorta, lived.
scholarship (see Bibliography below) has celebrated Chiara as the
convent's foundress, In 1392 her father Pietro was the victim of a
political assassination, which resulted in the collapse of the family's
status and finances and left San Domenico without its foremost patron
soon after its foundation. But the Blessed Chiara's reputation for extreme
piety meant that her fame grew and she attracted devotees, including the
Merchant of Prato, Francesco di Marco Datini, with whom she corresponded,
and the Dominican reformer Giovanni Dominici, who was her counsellor and
spread the word. The convent's nuns were called on to help found the
convents of San Pier Martire in Florence and San Silvestro in Genoa, and
the convent's constitutions also influenced the convent of Corpus Domini
in Venice, which Dominici helped establish.
From 1724 to 1732, the interior was redecorated in late-Baroque style. The
church and convent were extensively damaged by direct hits during World War II.
The south wall was destroyed with the subsequent collapse of the vaulting
and roof. Today the
used by the Knights of Malta.
Has medieval frescoes and canvases by Giovanni Battista
Tempesti of The Life of the Beatified Chiara from 1782.
Also a relic of the Blessed Gerard, the founder of the Order of Malta.
Lost art in the San Matteo gallery
A 1404 Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine panel and a 1405
polyptych centred on a Virgin and Child Enthroned, both by
Martino di Bartolomeo and Giovanni di Pietro da Napoli. A processional
banner by Fra Angelico from 1440-45.
A Vision of Saint Bridget panel by Turino Vanni from the late
14th/early 15th century. A panel showing
Christ Blessing, Enthroned with the Virgin and Mary Magdalene
by Ambrogio da Asti, a pupil of Ghirlandaio from Asti, from 1514.
A central panel depicting Saint Catherine of Alexandria by the
anonymous Flemish Master of the Legend of Saint Lucy from 1485-93, and two
flanking panels showing the Marriage of Saint Catherine and
Saint Catherine and the Doctors by an anonymous Pisan artist of the
early 16th century (see above right).
A crowded Crucifixion with the Ten Thousand Martyrs panel by
Benozzo Gozzoli from the end of the 15th century and fresco panels by him,
depicting a Crucifixion and Saint Dominic Requesting Silence
from the refectory here.
Dominican Women and Renaissance Art: The Convent of San Domenico of Pisa
by Ann Roberts.
Piazza S. Francesco
Documented from 1233, when Saint Francis supposedly passed through Pisa
and left some brothers who built a small oratory. The church was rebuilt
from 1261 for archbishop Federico Visconti. The work, which was directed
by Giovanni di Simone, also responsible for the Camposanto and the first
attempt to right the tower's lean, finished in 1270 and included the
campanile. The rectangular cloister is 14th-century and once had frescoes
by Taddeo Gaddi showing scenes from the Life of Saint Francis. Work was
interrupted byPisa's finances suffering from the plague and the
Florentine conquest. The marble façade was finally finished in 1603, with
interior rebuilding work. In the 15th-century two new cloisters and the chapel of Saint
Bernardino were built.
In the 15th century the complex was turned into a barracks and later
became the Collegio della Sapienza, founded by Cosimo I de’ Medici in
1543. It housed the Inquisition in 1575 and in 1787 passed to Augustinians,
until the Napoleonic suppressions. The convent then became a hospital and later
a military warehouse. In 1901 was it returned to the Franciscans
and reopened for worship.
During WWII a shell damaged the roof and further damage was done by the
Consorzio Agrario when using the church as a granary.
The church was declared a national monument in 1893 but has been closed
since 2016. A sad shame for the second largest church in Pisa, only the
Duomo being bigger.
The first left chapel, of the Martyrs, has frescoes from the workshop of
Agnolo Gaddi from the end of the 14th century. And a 1602 altarpiece of
The Nativity by Ludovico Cardi, nicknamed il Cigoli, a friend and adviser
of Galileo Galilei, The second chapel, of the Conception, is where
the Maestà by Cimabue of c.1280 once sat. The third chapel, of Agostini della Seta, has
frescoes by Francesco Neri da Volterra. Here the altarpiece of San
Francis by Giunta Pisano from 1255 was kept.
In the presbytery are a cycle of frescoes attributed to Jacopo di Mino del
Pellicciano from 1342 (vault), paintings by Galileo Chini and Saint Peter
frescoes attributed to Taddeo Gaddi.
The chapel of SS. Sacramento housed the famous Giotto San Francesco Receiving the
Stigmata, looted by Napoleon in 1811 and are still in the Louvre. There's a copy here now.
Then the chapel of the Gherardesca, second on the
right, houses the tomb of Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, immortalized by
Dante in the Divine Comedy. There's a triptych with Saint Anthony by Ventura Salimbeni and Giovanni
Stefano Marucelli ( Jesus); This chapel was transformed in the
Fascist era into the Chapel of the Fallen and decorated in 1928 with
their symbols and fasces.
At the end, the chapel of the Fantini with the triptych of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus by Francesco Manetti (1908).
There are paintings by Jacopo da Empoli, Domenico Passignano
and Santi di Tito. In the transept are frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi
(1342-1345), Galileo Chini (20th century) and a marble altarpiece by Tommaso
Pisano (late 14th century) of which there's a cast in the V&A cast court (see
The sacristy (accessible through the left transept) begins with a corridor
with detached frescoes attributed to Giovanni da Milano. Inside are
sinopie coming from the chapter house frescoes by Niccolò di Pietro
Gerini of the life of Christ (1392). The Sardi-Campiglia chapel has
frescoes by Taddeo di Bartolo (1397) of Stories from the Life of Virgin.
The vaults with Evangelists and Doctors of the Church are attributed to Barnaba of Modena.
Near the left transept, in front of the apse chapels, at the top there is
a large mullioned window of 1929, painted by Francesco Mossmeyer in the
style of the originals, which features the face of Benito Mussolini. Both
wings of the transept are decorated with five stained glass windows, painted
on the original model by Francesco Mossmeyer in 1926, with
stories from the life of of San Francis. There are seven apses, repainted between 1903 and 1930
by the atelier of Ulisse de Matteis and by Mossmeyer, but that of the
presbytery is from 1341.
Lost art in the Louvre
The Giotto Stigmata of St Francis (1295/1300) used to be found in one of
the chapels in the left transept here. It and Cimabue's Maestà of c.1280
were both looted by Denon for Napoleon in 1811 and are still in the Louvre.
They had both briefly hung in the Camposanto post-suppression.
in San Matteo
A very damaged and faded 14th century fresco fragment in a box depicting
the Virgin and Child, possibly by Taddeo Gaddi
A large painted and gilded dossal
showing Saint Francis and Six of his Miracles by Giunta Pisano from
A 13th-century painted and gilded Crucifix formerly in the sacristy
here and attributed to Deodato Orlandi .
An early-14th-century smoky Virgin and Child (Madonna del Latte)
panel by Barnaba da Modena (see right).
A 14th/15th-century wooden Annunciation group, with traces
of polychrome. by the Master of Montefoscoli.
Twenty-seven 14th century liturgical books with musical notation,
commissioned for this church, remained here until 1808. Napoleon moved
them to San Nicola, where they were kept until 1893 when they returned to
San Francesco until moving to the Museum of San Matteo in 1949
Closed since 2016, with the cloister now occasionally used for
concerts and services
Piazza S. Frediano
Documented as early as 1061. Founded by the Buzzaccherini-Sismondi family,
originally co-dedicated to Saint Martin, with a hospital attached for pilgrims
and the needy.
Between 1076 and 1561 the
complex was run by Camaldolese monks, before passing to the order of the
Knights of St. Stephen, who used it for burials and decorated the façade
with the Cross of the Order, removed during restoration work in 1964. In
1594 the church passed to the Barnabites. After ducal suppression of the
convent the church passed to parish use in 1784. During WWII the roof was
'holed four times' and there was 'one hole in the campanile'. This is now the church of
the University of Pisa, run by Jesuits.
Late 11th/early 12th century, restored in 1964 to
medieval appearance. The lintel over the central door is reused ancient Roman.
Damaged by fire in 1675, has kept its
original form, with a nave and two aisles.
Romanesque feel, with marble columns, round arches and decorated 11th-century
capitals with animals and humans. The green plaster
ceiling is a bit out of keeping. A long church eight
bays with three deep dark
domed chapels in first five bays and two tall marble
tombs incorporating confessionals from the 17th
century. Two more carved wooden confessionals at the east
end. There's a decorated-domed chapel at the end
of each aisle flanking a rectangular domed and
low-key-baroque apse with an organ loft over the
stalls. The frescoes
of the dome were completed by Rutilio Manetti. The chapel to the right of
the presbytery has the columns of its altar frame being broken and pushed
aside by caryatids
(see right). The Baroque altars have 17th-century paintings by
Ventura Salimbeni (Annunciation and Nativity) and Aurelio Lomi (Adoration
of the Magi 1604). There are also frescoes by Domenico Passignano.
The first chapel on
the left has the
highlight nice old 12th century Crucifix with
Scenes from the Passion.
A Miracle of Saint Francis panel by Aurelio Lomi from
1611/12 is in San Matteo.
Chunky, said to be 13th century
A photo from
San Giorgio ai Tedeschi
Via Santa Maria
San Giovanni dei Fieri
Via Pietro Gori
Built from 1316 in memory of the German soldiers who died at the battle of
Montecatini. Then called San Giorgio degli Innocenti as it was annexed in
1414 to the Trovatelli hospital, becoming its chapel, but from 1784 it was
annexed to the hospital of Santa Chiara who, in 1989, passed the church to
the Institution of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. .
Aisleless, the interior was
renovated from 1722. There's a 14th-century wooden crucifix by a German
artist and gilded stucco and paintings of the 18th century. On the
inner façade there's a lunette above the entrance - a fresco of the
Holy Family painted in medieval style by Curzio Rossi in 1932. There's an
early 19th century wooden coffered ceiling. On the walls are 19th-century
copies of the ovals painted around 1773 by Giovanni Stella and Giuseppe
Soldaini, depicting Christ, the Virgin and Saints. The left wall's altar
is polychrome marble from 1722 topped by a canvas of The Massacre of
the Innocents by Domenico Ceuli. Two 18th-century paintings by Giovan Battista
Fanucci and, to the left of the main altar, an Immaculate Conception by an
unknown 18th-century artist.
A small bell gable.
Known as San Giovannino in the 12th century it was renovated by
the architect Cosimo Pugliani in 1614. Having belonged to the Order of St
John of Jerusalem, who also owned the church of Santo Sepolcro. This church
now belongs to the Seventh-day Adventists.
A 13th-century painted and gilded Crucifix, attributed to Michele
di Balduino, is now in the San Matteo gallery. As is a late 14th century
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Angels panel by Barnaba da Modena.
Via San Giuseppe
Built from 1530 - 1534 for the convent of Jesuati sisters from Lucca, the
church was consecrated in 1572. Completely rebuilt between 1707 and 1710
by Pisan brothers Giuseppe and Francesco Melani, painters and architects,
responsible for the façade too, and the gilded stucco decoration inside.
From 1791 the Compagnia del Crocione were in possession a confraternity
founded in 1330 dedicated to Saint Ursula, which became the
Archconfraternity of the Misericordia of Pisa following the Ducal
suppressions. Restoration work was carried out in 1895, comemorated by the
right-hand plaque on the façade. The church, still
belonging to the Misericordia of Pisa, was reopened for worship in 2003.
Aisleless and baroque, mostly 18th and 19th century
Small but tall, lit by large clerestory
windows, gently baroque-decorated with a pair of curved side chapels and a
shallow apse with a pair of high nun's gallery grills.
The Flight into Egypt of 1729 by Ranieri del Pace is the high altarpiece.
The vault of the apse was decorated in 1955 with the coats of arms
of Pisa, the Compagnia del Crocione and the Misericordia. On the left is a
fresco by the school of Giovanni Battista Tempesti, representing The Flagellaton of Christ. A chapel on the right, dedicated to
the Precious Blood, has a ceiling
fresco of the The Volto Santo and Flight of Angels of 1895 by Ranieri
Cardelli. Near the entrance is the Perelli altar dedicated to the Holy
Shepherdess with a wood and stucco statue of Christ Fallen Under The Cross,
carved by Giuseppe Giacobbi in 1705 for the Certosa di Calci and
transferred here in 1808.
Erected in 1710, square, brick,
with a gallery of pietra serena. It replaced one from 1614.
San Marco in Calcesana
Via Giuseppe Garibaldi
Located next to the gateway in the city walls
of the road that lead to Calci, hence the name. Consecrated on 1
September 1142 by Archbishop Baldovino, the church was attached to a
hospital. It housed monks/nuns of the order of Saint
Matthew until 1387 when patronage passed to some Pisan families.
Reconstruction began in 1508, involving the rebuilding of the façade and
the erection of a campanile. Several
suppressions were followed by deconsecration in 1819. Largely demolished
the walls remain. Later usage included as a warehouse and a garage, the
church is pretty much a ruin now. In 2014 a plan was put forward by a Forza Italia councillor to turn it into a concert hall and cultural
During the rebuilding mentioned above, in 1518, a large glazed
terracotta altarpiece of
The Assumption was commissioned from Giovanni della Robbia, the
grandnephew of Luca, for the high altar here, with an elaborate glazed
decorated frame and full-length figures. It is now in the Aulla chapel in
San Martino in Chinzica
Piazza San Martino
The Church was first documented in 1066 as San Martino in Guazzolongo (the
name of the quarter) and belonging to Augustinians. It was rebuilt in
1331, with funding from Bonifacio Novello della Gherardesca, as a convent
for Clarissan nuns. The lower façade dates from the 14th century, with the
upper section added 1610 during rebuilding.
The façade has a copy of the lunette bas relief of Saint Martin and the
Poor Man attributed to Andrea Pisano, the original is inside the church.
Hall-shaped and aisleless with shallow transept arms and apse,
during the 1610 rebuilding, Has a wooden painted crucifix by Pisan painter
Enrico di Tedice from the mid 13th century. On the ceiling of the chapel
of the Holy Sacrament are 14th-century frescoes of The Redeemer and
Saints by Giovanni di Nicola e Cecco di Pietro. On the wall are
stories of the virgin by Antonio Veneziano.
17th century paintings by Palma il Giovane, Orazio Riminaldi, Jacopo
Ligozzi, il Passignano and the Melani brothers.
An altarpiece by the anonymous Master of Saint
Martin was painted for this church c.1250/60 and is now in the San Matteo
gallery (see right).
The Virgin and Child in the centre is flanked by columns of scenes from
the story of Joachim and Anna, with Saint Martin Dividing His Cloak
in a lobed space at the base of the Virgin's throne. There's also a
lunette by him there of The Virgin and Child with Angels and Saint
Martin doing the cloak thing again.
An altarpiece by Taddeo di Bartolo c.1396/7. Remaining are the
central panel of the Virgin and Child, which is in Nancy, with two
flanking panels with a pair of saints in each, Bartholomew and Andrew on
one, Christopher and a bishop (Martin?) on the other, which are in the
Pisa Archepiscopal Palace. It is assumed that the bishop saint is Martin
because he is the dedicatee of this church, whilst Christopher and Andrew
were the dedicatees of churches nearby then under the control of this one. Bartholomew is a less obvious local choice, although his head and
hand are kept in the Duomo.
The polychrome ceramic font is now found in the
Museo Nazionale di San Matteo.
Part of a convent of Benedictine
nuns in 1027, the church was rebuilt over a previous little Romanesque
church and enlarged in the 12th and 13th centuries. Rebuilt at the behest
of Cosimo III de'Medici from 1607 following a fire, with the current
aisleless church replacing the previous one with two aisles, with a façade
1610. Following suppression in 1866 the convent became a prison.
Thefts in 1905 included a 16th century altarpiece attributed to Pierino
del Vaga, with a predella by Raffaellino del Garbo which was later
Heavily damaged by bombing in WWII. The vaulting, with frescoesc by
Boscoli was demolished and the retrochoir damaged. After the war the complex became first a museum and then the
Department of History of the Arts of the University of Pisa. Restoration work between January 1945 and May 1946 resulted in the
current National Museum of San Matteo, the former museum site in San
Francesco having become unusable due to humidity and war damage. The
church is now used by an orthodox congregation.
Baroque faux marble and gilt plaster. Two side altars, each
flanked by two panel paintings.
A squarish nave with real windows on right, trompe l'oeil windows on left. It is
backed with a deep narthex with a nuns' gallery above, divided from the
nave by a row of columns, with grisaille
frescoes featuring full-length figures in considerable niches.
The vault is frescoed with The Glory of Matthew by brothers
Giuseppe and Francesco Melani, from the 18th century, with much queasy
trompe l'oeil architecture.
There are also Stories of the Life of
Saint Matthew by Sebastiano Conca, Francesco Trevisani and Jacopo
Zoboli, while the altar on the left wall has a Crucifix
from the 13th century.
Lost art in the
San Matteo gallery
A 13th century Byzantine/Pisan Crucifix from the convent
here (see right).
An early 14th-century Virgin and Child with Angels and Saints Francis
and Chiara by the Maestro della Carita from the convent here. A
Virgin and Child enthroned with Two Angels, Four Saints and the Donor
altarpiece, an early work by Niccolò Pisano (Niccolò dell'Abbrugia) from
1493. A wooden Annunciate Angel with traces of polychrome by Andrea
Pisano from c.1345 and another such figure (or a saint) by Tommaso Pisano
from later in the 14th century.
San Michele in Borgo
Archaeological traces of the Etruscans and Romans
have been found here, including a temple to Mars. The earliest mention of
the church and monastery dates to 1016, when a chapel already here was
rebuilt and dedicated to the Archangel Michael, under the direction of
Bono, a Benedictine monk. Traces of this original church have been found
under the crypt.
The complex passed to Camaldolese monks between 1105 and 1111, who
remained until suppression in 1782, the church becoming a Priory. The
current church is the fruit of alterations from the 13th century,
including a late baroque rebuilding in the mid-18th century and more
following an earthquake in 1846. Bomb damage in WWII demolished the north
wall and was followed by the collapse of the roof, except the part over
the high altar. Repair work in 1963,
Marble, from the 14th century The central door is topped by a
Gothic tabernacle with a copy of a Virgin and Child, with Angels and a
Kneeling Abbott by Lupo di Francesco. The original figures are in the
Museum of S. Matteo. Writing on the lower façade refers to the election of
a rector of the university in the early 17th century.
A nave with two slim aisles, rough and tall Romanesque, stone
below and brick above. Eight bays each side with the last three each side,
after a stripy pillar rather than a column, much taller.
Baroque marble altar, built above the 11th - 12th century crypt with freestanding framing
for the altarpiece, with memorials and panels on the rear face, and a pair of
flanking marble side altars, with twisty columns, one in the centre of each aisle.
13th c frescoes, of St Michael over door in left aisle back wall, and walls of very damaged frescos end of left aisle.
14th century Crucifix attributed to Nino Pisano, taken from the
lunette in the Camposanto's western door.
Paintings by Matteo Rosselli, Baccio Lomi, Aurelio Lomi and Giuseppe
A late 14th century triptych by Taddeo di Bartolo centred on a Virgin
and Child with angel Musicians is in San Matteo.
Medieval but rebuilt in 1676.
San Michele degli Scalzi
Piazza San Michele degli Scalzi
Also formerly known as San Michele degli Scalzi in Orticaia due to
the swampy site on which it was built. An oratory was here by 1025 with the
church built later given to a nearby convent of Benedictines, established
in 1178 by monks from the abbey of Santa Maria di Pulsano sul Gargano. The
first restoration work was completed by 1204. During the 15th century the
church belonged to several orders, before 1463 passing to the Canons
Regular of the Lateran. Major modifications included the elaborate
coffered ceiling in 1596. The church transferred to the Olivetans in 1774.
19th-century work aimed to restore the original Romanesque features.
Bombed during WW2, this and flooding required major work. The
former monastery complex has been renovated and is now a cultural centre.
The unfinished façade has marble facing, with three doors, only in the
lower part. The central lunette is a copy of the Byzantine original
from 1203–1204, showing Christ Providing Benediction. The original
is in the Museum of San Matteo. The Byzantine-style frieze is a relief of
the angelic hierarchy.
Characteristic Pisan exposed brick and stone walls with a nave and
two aisles ending in a semicircular apse with two flanking side chapels,
one with an organ, the other with the old 18th-century altar, making
something of a transept. The tall clerestory level has slim lancet
windows. There's a 13th-century Crucifix, painted in tempera and
gilded which was originally in the church of Santi Cosma e Damiano in
Pisa. And we're told that the left side of the nave has a fresco of
Saints Onofrius and Helen and a Bishop, but I couldn't find it.
A statue of a virtue, possibly Faith, by the workshop of Nicola Pisano was
probably originally a figure separating narrative panels on a pulpit here.
It's now in the Louvre
Via Santa Maria
First documented, along with its attached Augustinian
convent, in 1097 as depending from the Monastery of San Michele della Verruca. Tradition, says it was
founded by Marquis Ugo di Tuscia at the end of the 10th century in an area
where the Tuscia family owned property. Enlarged by Augustinians 1297-1313
possibly to designs by Giovanni Pisano for the east side. Rebuilding from
1572 with work on eight chapels and the ceiling and the Santi Sacramento
chapel by Matteo Nigetti in 1614. During WWII the church suffered one hole
in the roof and shrapnel pitting on the façade and walls.
The lower part is 11th century and typical
Pisan Romanesque, featuring 12th century intarsia. The upper story
brickwork is perhaps 16th century.
A covered passage to the right
of the façade connects the church to the Palazzo delle Vedova, via
the Torre de Cantone, which was used by the Medici women living in the
palazzo to attend services without walking in the street.
Aisleless, with four deep chapels each side, the first pair under the rear
organ gallery. Two lower and broader side chapels before the apse make a
crossing effect. Enclosed chapels either side of the apse with a large
sacristy off the left one, which has a modern baptismal font. Barrel
vaulted square apse.
On the right the first chapel, otherwise bare, with a decorated ceiling,
has a lovely small Virgin and Child by Francesco Traini (but not
polychrome wooden Madonna Annunciate by Francesco da Valdambrino mentioned.)
On the right wall of the second chapel the panel of Saint Charles Borromeo is by
In the fourth chapel, a gold-ground panel from a
polyptych (now behind glass) shows Saint Nicholas of Tolentino Saving Pisa
from the Plague (c. 1400) with a view of Pisa, famous for being one of the
oldest and most detailed.
The high altar (flanked
by two statues by Felice Palma) was designed by Matteo Nigetti, who also
decorated the 17th-century chapel on the right. In the chapel to the left
of the high altar is a wooden Crucifix by Giovanni Pisano (c. 1300), and in the
fourth chapel on the left side has a statue of the Virgin and Child by
Nino Pisano, behind glass. The second chapel on the left contains an
altarpiece (in poor condition) of the Annunciation by Giovanni Bilivert,
behind a model of the church's environs in olden times.
Said to date to 1170, the octagonal tower is
said to be the work of Diotisalvi, also responsible for Pisa's other
leaning tower. Its cantilevered
spiral staircase was admired and studied by Bramante.
San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno
& Cappella di Sant'Agata
Piazza S. Paolo a Ripa D'Arno
Documents report the founding of the church
By 1032 a church certainly existed, connected to a Benedictine monastery.
By 1092 this had passed to Vallombrosan monks and it became a hospital in 1147.
The design of the church is attributed to the architect Bruschetto and
was modified in the 11th/12th centuries, in a style similar to that of the
Duomo, and was reconsecrated by Pope Eugene III in 1148.
In 1409 the complex was transferred to Cardinal Landolfo di Marramauro,
and then in 1552 was given to the Florentine Grifoni family of San
Miniato. After 1565 it passed to the Order of Saint Stephen. Upon
suppression of the order in 1798 the church passed to parish use.
Major rebuilding in 1853, directed by Pietro Bellini, to restore the
church to its Romanesque appearance which included the removal of the side
altars. The complex was severely damaged during WWII when bombing led to
the collapse of the nave roof and part of the south aisle. The remaining
roof tiles were then stolen by locals. Restoration work
following in 1949-1952, during which the convent buildings were demolished,
including the two cloisters, one to the rear and one against the south
wall, and the campanile, thereby restoring the small Cappella di Sant'Agata to its free-standing state.
Bichrome marble banding with re-used Roman stonework. The
façade was designed in the 12th century but only completed in the 14th, maybe by
Massively looming, with six slightly-pointy-arched bays, the last
bay wider and with the granite columns replaced by stripey pillars with,
on the left hand one, full length frescoes of Saints Bartholomew
and Francis by Buffalmacco. Plain walls and quite a nice lot of
tall slim windows in walls and clerestory.
The left transept has a Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints panel
by Turino Vanni from 1397 and some decorative fresco remains in a niche (see
At the back is a 2nd-century Roman sarcophagus that was repurposed as a
medieval tomb for the remains of the Pisan jurist Burgundio (1194). Its
relief is supposed to have been used as a model by both Nicola Pisano and
Arnolfo di Cambio, his pupil.
in San Matteo
A Lippo Memmi polyptych, now dismembered, dated 1325-9. A panel
showing Saint Andrew on a Faldstool. Saint Ursula Saves Pisa from the Plague,
a large 14th century panel painting, is controversially claimed to have come from
Cappella di Sant'Agata
In the scrubby garden behind the church is the
small octagonal Romanesque Cappella di Sant'Agata, built c.1063 to
celebrate the conquest of the city of Palermo in that year and dedicated
to Saint Agatha, who had been martyred in Sicily. The first documented
mention of the chapel dates to 1132 however. The octagonal plan and the
dating of construction to the 12th century suggests Diotisalvi as its
architect evidently. Until WWII the chapel was enclosed by a cloister and
so invisible from outside. During bombing in 1943, surrounding buildings
were destroyed and it was decided not to rebuild and so to leave the
chapel in solitary splendour in a park.
The interior contains fragments of 12th-century wall decoration.
San Paolo all'Orto
Piazza San Paolo All'Orto
First mentioned in 1086 and
called San Paolo in Burgo, but by 1120
it had its current dedication. In 1472 it passed to the Augustinian nuns
of Sant'Agostino in via Romea, who undertook restoration work in 1481,
shortening the church, demolishing the apse and rebuilding the roof
vaults. In the 18th century the interior was decorated with late baroque
The monastery became a girls' college in 1785, with the church losing its
parish status in 1789, with suppression following in 1808.
Restoration work in 1819, but the church was deconsecrated in 1950. It passed to
the municipality of Pisa and has been subject to further restoration.
Since 2005 it has been the seat of the Gipsoteca di Arte Antica
of the University of Pisa".
The late-12th century Pisan Romanesque decoration of the façade has been
attributed to Biduino.
The Casassi altarpiece, centred on a Virgin and Child with
Saints, by Taddeo di Bartolo from 1395 (see below) was looted by
Napoleon and Denon and never returned, being today in the Museum of
Grenoble. Of the three
gable panels, The Blessing Redeemer is in Altenburg, Saint John
the Baptist is in Asciano and Saint Peter is in a private
collection. A winningly bright Crucifixion, thought to be the
centre of a five-scene predella, is in the Avignon Musée du Petit Palais.
The altarpiece was painted to commemorate Gherardo Casassi, his will
having stipulated he be buried in front of the high altar here. His sons,
named as custodians of his bequest, where represented on the altarpiece by
their name saints - Andrew and Nicholas in the main tier and young
Ludovico in a medallion.
The Cross of San Paolo all'Orto, a painted Crucifix by an unknown Pisan artist, from c.1100-1130
is now in the Museum of San Matteo. It is the oldest known work on wood from the Pisan school.
San Pietro in Vinculis
San Pietro in Vinculis (Saint Peter in
Chains) was built by the Augustinians in 1072-1081 over a previous church,
mentioned in 763 called San Pietro ai Sette Pini. They built the rectory
and raised the floor to make room for the crypt. More work followed,
through to the 19th century, but without major changes.
A nave and two aisles, columns with Romanesque
capitals (possible from a mysterious previous building) and a cosmatesque
pavement of the 12th century. Frescoes from the 11th and 12th centuries on the
inner façade (The Annunciation) and in a niche near the main altar (Saint
Peter and the Angel). A Crucifix the 13th century, attributed to Michele
di Baldovino ends the nave. The crypt is the only one in Pisa and is
formed of four aisles with columns with bare capitals (late Roman) and has
frescoes by Francesco Neri from Volterra (1367)
Adapted from a 12th-century
The church had housed a famous manuscript of the Corpus Juris Civilis
(Civil Law Code) of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I from 533, which came
here after the sack of Amalfi in 1136 and was kept in the crypt. When Pisa
fell in 1406 the Florentines took the document, which is now in the
Via Cardinale Pietro Maffi
The original church, built in 1577, stood next to a hospital in the
Piazza del Duomo (far right in the old photo right). In 1868 that
church was demolished, as part of an urban renewal project of Luigi
Torelli, and rebuilt here, nearer the walls, in 1865-68.
The church has an altarpiece depicting The Virgin with Saints Ranieri,
Torpè, and Leonardo by Aurelio Lomi. The marble high altar is 15th
century by Andrea Guardi.
Giunta Pisano's 13th century painted Crucifix (The Cross of San Ranierino) in the Museo Nazionale di
Piazza dei Cavalieri
Originally called San Pietro in Cortevecchia and documented from
1028. In 1575 the church was granted to the Company of Saint Roch
and major rebuilding followed, including a new
façade, in 1630–1634 by architect Cosimo Pugliani for Grand Duke
Ferdinando I de 'Medici. When the Order of San Rocco was suppressed in
1782 the church passed into private hands, being bought by Giovanni
Domenico Castellini, from Livorno. From 1786 the hall was used as a
mortuary and later the sacristy of San Sisto, as the two churches back
onto each other. The church reopened for worship in 1899 following
restorations carried out by Count Aloisio Boilleau.
In 1918, the choir on the inner-façade was dismantled and donated to the
church of San Lorenzo alle Corti.
In 1998, conservationn works were carried out on the internal and external
walls of the church.
An aisleless nave with two side altars and a quadrangular apse. The
presbytery has two doors in its sides, the left door is fake but the right
one leads to the sacristy and, through a corridor, to the church
of San Sisto.
13th century frescos in niches. A ceiling fresco of Saint Roch
protecting those affected with the plague is attributed to Francesco
The altar has a crucifixion from the 16th century and a Virgin and Child
from the 15th century in polychrome terracotta. On an altar on the left
nave is an altarpiece of Saint Roch attributed to Giovanni Antonio Sogliani.
Piazza San Silvestro
A church was already here in 1118, when it was
occupied by Benedictine monks from Monte Cassino, who were here until 1270. In
1331 church and monastery passed to Dominican nuns.
The Roccoco façade was rebuilt in 1770/72 by Giuseppe Vaccà to designs by Anton
Francesco Quarantotti removing the 12th-century sculpted architrave with
Scenes from the Life of Constantine and Saint Sylvester which is now
in Museum of San Matteo, along with the original 12th century ceramic
basins, set into the outer wall of the east end, now replaced by copies.
Contemporary with the façade are the two statues of Saints Domenic and
Sylvester which top it, by
Giovanni Antonio Cybei.
In 1782 the monastery became a conservatory for the daughters of noblemen,
then in the 19th century it passed first to the Order of Saint Francis of
Sales and then to the Ministero dell’Interno who used it, after
deconsecration, as a prison, student accommodation, and as a workshop for
restoring frescos. Restoration work in 2003-6
A nave and two aisles, with a carved and gilded wooden ceiling by
Cosimo Pugliani from 1612 with nine contemporary canvases by Aurelio Lomi
set into it. These depict The Resurrection in the centre, around
which are The Four Evangelists. There's also Saint Catherine
before the Emperor Maxentius, The Coronation of the Emperor Constantine by
Pope Silvester, Saints Dominic, Peter and Paul and the
Adoration of the Magi.
The Virgin and Child with Angels panel by Turino Vanni from the
late 14th century (see left) formerly housed here, was looted by Napoleon and is still in the
Louvre, but not usually on display.
Many medieval works from this church are in San Matteo, including a
13th-century dossal showing Christ Pantocrator with the Virgin and
Saints John the Baptist, Catherine and Sylvester by the Master of
Santa Marta. Also an
altarpiece depicting Saint Catherine with Stories from Her
Life. The latter was, according to legend, found in 1235 floating in
the Arno and recovered by the then Prior of San Silvestro. It is displayed
in San Matteo set into a post-Trent (early 17th-century) large oil
panel by Paolo Guidotti showing Saints Torpe, Ursula, Cecilia and
Ranieri (see right).
San Sisto in Cortevecchia
Piazza Francesco Buonamici
Founded in 1087 and dedicated to
San Sisto in honour of the victory over the Saracens of Al Mahdiya and
Zawila on 6th August. Consecrated in 1133.
Restorations in the 15th, 17th and 19th centuries have not spoiled the
church's medieval appearance and in the 1920s
Baroque decoration and stucco accretions were removed.
Characteristic Pisan decoration with
(mostly) Islamic ceramic basins from the 10th-11th centuries (bacini) set into the
façade. They are copies, the originals are in the Museum of San Matteo
A nave and two aisles, divided by columns with reused Roman
capitals. It houses an Arabic tombstone, the copy of a 14th-century
Virgin with Child and the rudder and mast of a Pisan galley of the 14th
century. The trussed ceiling shows traces of colour from the 19th-century.
An 11th century tomb epigraph in Kufic script, stolen from the Balearic
Islands in 1115, is on the inner-façade. It reads
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Merciful! Men: what God promises
is true! May worldly life not deceive you! May the Deceiver not deceive
you about God! Emir Abu Nasr is dead - May God make his face shine on
The epigraph is in honour of Emir al Murtadà, who died on Saturday 7
The polychrome marble high altar was
sculpted in 1730 by Andrea Vaccà for San Rocco,the small church attached
to San Sisto's east end. A
wooden polychromed Crucifix modelled on the Volto Santo from Lucca, from
1370, is on the right wall. The Madonna della Purità of the Pisan
school from 1290 - 1300 is at the end of the right aisle.
The 6th of August
The church is dedicated to Pope Sixtus II, a 3rd-century saint
who was martyr on the 6th of August. On this day Pisa remembers its victories that took place on that
day, and the victims of all wars. A memorial was placed on the side of
this church in 1966. Some of the celebrated dates are...
6 August 1087, the Pisans after conquering Pantelleria, landed on the
African coast where they conquered Zawila and Mahdiya.
6 August 1113, the Pisan army, led by bishop Pietro, sailed towards the
Balearic Islands, which were conquered in a campaign that lasted over a
6 August 1119, the Pisans defeated the Genoese in Portovenere.
6 August 1135, the Pisans conquered Amalfi and other cities and castles
but were then defeated by the king of Sicily, Ruggero Altavilla.
6 August 1262, the Pisan fleet defeated the Genoese fleet in the waters of
The twelfth-century bell tower was restored
several times over the centuries.
San Tommaso delle Convertite
Via San Tommaso
Largo del Parlascio
Documented with an adjoining hospital from
1160. Restored in 1610 by Christina of Lorraine as a convent to house
converted prostitutes. Renovated 1756 - 1758 by Camillo Marracci based on
plans by Ignazio Pellegrini who is responsible for the current facade and
the bell tower, which was demolished in the 19th century. Currently run by
The San Tommaso in Ponte Association, a voluntary organization set up to
address the "new poverties": economic, educational and cultural.
On the sides and in the lower part of the facade can be seen some traces
of the original church.
In the barrel vault inside is the insignia of
Christina of Lorraine, made in the 18th century.
A late 14th-century tempera and gilt Assumption by Antonio
Veneziano, now in San Matteo.
A church and convent were built here between
1254 and 1278 by Umiliati monks, probably to house the relics of Saint
Torpé from the nearby crumbling church of San Rossore a Tombolo. After the
order was suppressed in 1571 by Pope Pius V it passed in 1584 to
Franciscan monks of the order of Minims of Saint Francis of Paola. The
Franciscans commissioned works from the artists Alfonso Robertelli,
Bartolomeo di Domenico, Guerruccio Guerrucci, and Baldassarri di Pasquino
Following the suppression of the Minims the church was not reassigned
until 1808, to Vallombrosans and then to Carthusians, followed by the
Carmelites in 1816. In 1866 the latter order was briefly suppressed
and much of the art and decoration was auctioned off. The monastery and
church still belong to Carmelite nuns.
The side walls have tall 17th-century canvases depicting Saint Simon
Stock and Saint Teresa (left wall) and Saint John of the Cross and
Saint Andrew Corsini (right wall) by an unknown artist. The Carrara
marble high altar dates to
1619 and was designed by Giuseppe Zucchetti. The silver reliquary bust of
Saint Torpè from 1667, now kept in a glass case, was donated by the
The choir has 17th-century canvases depicting The Conversion of Saint
Giovanni Gualberto and a Virgin and Child with Saints Torpè, Anne and
Angels and a Virgin and Child with Saints James and Philip by Francesco Vanni.
The 17th-century grey sandstone altars on the right wall, dedicated
respectively to St Francis of Paola and St Charles Borromeo, respectively
have altarpieces depicting a Madonna in glory between St John of the Cross
and St. Teresa (circa 1820) by Domenico Nani from Udine and a Life of a
Saint Joseph of Pisa (after 1631) by Giovanni Stefano Maruscelli.
Damaged by lightning in 1934.
Largo San Zeno
First documented in 1029 and seemingly built amongst, and from, ruins - there are bits of Roman masonry still in the walls of the current
church, part of an abbey originally belonging to Benedictine monks, the
fruit of many alterations. Parts of the church date to before the 10th
century, with more from the 10th and 11th century. Archaeology in the
1960s found a square-planned church with a nave and two aisles with the
later addition of three apses. Parts of the walls of the earlier church
survived into the 11th and 12th century rebuildings.
Only the circular holes remain where in the 11th-century
Islamic bowls (bacini) were inserted. The upper facade is later,
with a large circular window with a bishop’s arms above, from the 15th
The church is still divided into a nave and two aisles, separated
by alternating columns and pilasters, some of which have recycled ancient
capitals. There are traces of medieval frescoes.
Two panels from a 14th-century polyptych depicting Camoldolese saints by
Francesco Neri da Volterra is in SanMatteo.
Via Giosuè Carducci
First documented in 1104, the name deriving from it being outside a gate
in the medieval walls. The outer side and rear walls are said to be
survivals from this church. In 1153 Rainerius returned to Pisa and entered
the monastery her, and subsequently that
of Saint Vitus. The church was attached to a hospital from at least 1191
and underwent various renovations, all undocumented except for the
rebuilding of the roof of the nave in 1596.
A parish church until 1839, in which year it was deconsecrated
site set to became a fish-market, which never happened. Restoration
followed in 1840-47 including the decoration of the walls and the vault with
geometric motifs and busts of saints and the construction of marble
In 1847 it passed to the Unione del Sacro Cuore di Maria
Santissima per la Conversione dei Peccatori (Union of the Sacred Heart of Holy
Mary for the Conversion of the Sinful). External restoration work in 1894
including restoration work on the inset medieval bowls (in 1973 the
originals were moved to San Matteo). Heavily damaged during WWII and
restored and reopened to the public in 1948. More restoration work
followed, in 1995 and
2011, the latter work including a complete rebuilding of the upper façade
with its false rose window.
It was deconsecrated again and has been used for performances by the Teatro
Sant'Andrea since 1986.
A nave and two aisles, divided by three columns and a pillar on each side
- renovated in the 19th century. Of the six columns four have plain Roman
capitals and two have Romanesque capitals decorated with human and animal
heads. Four neo-Gothic marble confessionals from the 1840 - 1847
rebuilding. Over the high altar is an 18th-century carved and gilded
wooden tabernacle from the 18th century, with above it a 19th-century
frescoed lunette by B. Grazzini depicting The Divine Shepherd. The two
side chapels were made in 1845.
A church and convent built from 1407 for Benedictine nuns, the church was
consecrated by Archbishop Ricci in 1427.
Restoration, with the cloister added, by Girolamo
Ammannati in the early 15th century. In
1656 a boarding school for young upper class woman was established in the
convent, making enlargement necessary, which was achieved by buying the
adjacent convent of San Girolamo dei Frati Gesuati, an order which had
been suppressed by Pope Clement IX.
The church was completely rebuilt 1741-47 by Pisan
brothers Giuseppe and Francesco Melani, architects and painters, in its
current form. The order was suppressed in 1786 and the nuns were put in
charge of the school, thereafter undergoing various change in the
dedication of their order. Since 1975 it has been used by the university
studies merging with the Conservatory of Sant'Anna in 1987. The church
underwent restoration 2001/2.
Palely baroque, an aisleless nave, much stucco decoration, including
twelve panels in white stucco depicting Saints and Prophets by Giovanni
Frullani from 1747 Along the walls are four altars by Andrea Vaccà from
1740, with paintings from the same date 18th-century paintings by Tommaso
Tommasi, Giuseppe Grisoni and Antonio Luchi The stucco and marble high
altar was built to house the large early 14th century Burgundian wooden
crucifix once in the Duomo and now in the Opera del Duomo Museum.
In the convent buildings are traces of frescoes and a column from the 13th
century. In the cloister (formerly of the convent of San Girolamo) is
graffiti and frescoes of the Life of Blessed Filippo Gambacorti from the
The church and convent were founded in 1341. They suffered serious damage
during WWII and rebuilding afterwards.
The lower façade in banded marble was designed by Lupo and Giovanni di
Gante, and Simone di Matteo from Siena in 1399-1401.
On a back wall of the convent, facing Via Zandonai, is a (very) 1989 mural by
Keith Haring called Tuttomondo (see right).
Sant'Antonio in Qualconia
Via della Qualquonia
The church and convent of a lay Armenian brotherhood, the Disciplinati di
Sant'Antonio, first documented in a deed of
sale of a plot of land near the church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno by the
abbot there to a brother Alessandro Armeno to build a church and a
monastery, dated 7th February 1341. The church was in use by 1375 but its
form is unknown as, following the Florentine occupation of 1406, it
suffered damage and was subsequently abandoned.
In 1477 the Compagnia di Sant'Antonio began the
rebuilding of the complex, which then offered hospitality to pilgrims, and
later shelter to the poor. Following the amalgamation of the order with
the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano in 1605 baroque 'enhancements'
were made throughout the 17th century, the most extravagant of which was
the construction of a wooden ceiling with 21 canvases by anonymous local
artists depicting The Life of Saint
In 1684 at the behest of Grand Duke
Cosimo III the complex became an orphanage, the resulting work lasting
until the beginning of the 18th century involved putting an extra floor in
the former hospital to provide accommodation for the orphans and the
consequent plugging of the side windows of the church.
The Institute of the Orphans of Qualquonia passed from the Order of the
Knights of Santo Stefano to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and later to the
Italian Republic until it was badly damaged during Allied bombing on 31
August 1943 and demolished a few years later to make way for a school.
The church was also damaged, part of the ceiling of the nave and the
sacristy behind it collapsed but it was restored, the ceiling was rebuilt
and the paintings it contained were moved to San Matteo. The church was later deconsecrated and used first as the gymnasium of the new
school, then as a book store for the University Library and finally for
The church is now in a pitiful state of decay, being much in the news in
2014 and the subject of many plans and projects. The interior photo
(right) was taken in 1913.
An aisleless nave. The north wall
windows are real but those on the south wall are trompe-l'œil frescoes.
Less than half of the special 17th-century wooden ceiling remains.
Known as San Pietro in Ichia, the church is
documented in 1116. Renovated around 1277 under the patronage of the Galletti
family. In the early 17th century a relic of Sant'Apollonia was found
under the high altar and the church changed its name.
In 1777 the church was completely rebuilt by the Pisan Mattia Tarocchi in its
current baroque form. This work having been commissioned by the wife and
daughters of the last of the male line of the Galletti family, as
commemorated by a plaque to the left of the door.
Major consolidation work
in the early 2000s. Deconsecrated, the church's rectory and halls are now
used by UNITALSI, a charity set up to accompany the sick to Lourdes and
A barrel vaulted and aiseless nave, it has a
marbled stucco high altar, decoration and stucco work by Tarocchi, who
also painted the architectural trompe l’œil fresco in the apse. One side
altar each side - in the right there is an Annunciation, which
the nearby church of San Giuseppe, by Aurelio Lomi from the 17th
century. To the side is a painted panel with The Redeemer, the Virgin and Child
and Saints Apollonia and Francis commissioned in the 19th century from
Giuseppe Bacchini by the Genoese nobleman Paolo Francesco Spinola. Four oval
tempera paintings also by Giuseppe Bacchini from c.1820, depicting
The Apparition of Jesus to Saint Anthony, The Preaching of Saint Paul, Saint
Francis of Assisi in Front of the Crucifix and The Apparition of
Christ to Saint Catherine. Several 14th-century floor tombstones of the Galletti family,
Piazza Santa Caterina
First documented in 1211, as attached to a hospital. The current church, with
its attached convent, was built between 1251 and 1300, commissioned by
Saint Dominic himself, for friars of his order.
panel on the façade
Renovated after a fire in 1651, it's a big bare dark aisleless barn
renovated in the 18th century There are small window with modern stained glass high-up on
the right side. Sparse tombs and altars
on both sides until a stripy-arched side-aisle suddenly appears half-way down
on the right. Striped arches around the apse and two pairs of chapels
flanking too. The little art there is is sparsely
The Virgin and Child with Saints Peter and Paul from 1511 by Fra
Bartolomeoon is on the left before before the transept and a striking and strange
Apotheosis of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Francesco Triani of 1323.
Santi di Tito, Aurelio Lomi (The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine), Raffaello Vanni,
and Pietro Dandini have works in here
There are two
nice Tombs 2nd on left and right. The 1342-5 tomb of the Dominican Archbishop
of Pisa Simone Salterelli is said to have been commissioned from Andrea
Pisano, but executed by his son Nino and his shop (see right) (with a chalice in the British Museum).
Also notable is the tomb of Gherardo Compagni, decorated with a late
16th-century sculpted Pietà.
There's a Roman sarcophagus under the altar table, where there's also a tomb and
statues of the Annunciation by Nino Pisano, 1368.
The wooden 17th century pulpit is, according to tradition, one from which
Saint Thomas Aquinas preached.
to Giovanni di Simone, who also built the one for the church of San
Francesco and the Camposanto.
The monumental Santa Caterina Polyptych of 1320 by Simone Martini,
painted for the high altar here (see below) now in the Museo Nazzionale di San Matteo, is rare amongst
the artist's surviving polyptychs for
being almost complete. Damaged by the fire in the church in 1651 it features
42 figures with many saints (Thomas Aquinas before being made one) to be identified by the
friars, rather than featuring the stories necessary for the laity.
Lippo Memmi's Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas of
c. 1323 sees the Saint flanked by the knowledge-radiating figures of
Plato and Aristotle whilst he tramples on Avaroes, the Islamic scholar and
champion of Aristotle.
A polyptych of 1345 of Saint Dominic with Scenes from his Life,
from the San Domenico chapel here (Cappella dei Caduti) now in the Museo San Matteo, is the only surviving work by the Pisan
painter Francesco Traini, who had been a pupil of Simone Martini, that can firmly be attributed to him, being signed
and dated. The life of
Saint Dominic is a rare subject for altarpieces, unlike that of Saint
Joanna Cannon esp pp 227+
Via Santa Cecilia
Founded in 1102 by Camaldolese monks on land
donated by the Visconti family, consecrated in 1107 and completed during
the 13th century.
The church was extensively rebuilt after the damage of the Second World
The 13th-century Islamic and Pisan
ceramic bowls (bacini)
set into the walls are copies, the originals being in the Museum of San Matteo.
Works include The Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia by Ventura Salimbeni
from 1607, Christ
Embraces Saint Camillus de Lellis attributed to Giovanni Battista Tempesti,
and a Virgin and Child with Saint Philip Neri by an unknown 17th century
Brick from 1236, it gets wider towards the top Supported by two
walls and a column inside the church. It houses three 14th century bells,
one dated 1340.
Originally a church called Santo Spirito, but rebuilt in 1227 as the
chapel for the adjacent hospital of Santa Chiara. The church has a relic
of a thorn from the Crown of Thorns, which was in the church of Santa
Maria della Spina. It also has a 15th/16th century wooden Crucifix
and a marble Annunciation from 1567 by Stoldo Lorenzi.
Over the door is a 17th-century fresco of the
Virgin and Child with Saints Clare and Francis.
Now part of the modern Santa Chiara Hospital complex, it's in an
alley of tourist eateries opposite the Duomo, where it, unsurprisingly, is
fallings into wrack and ruin.
Lost art in the
San Matteo gallery
A 14th century panel showing the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Angels
by Cecco di Pietro (see right). A polyptych from 1403 by Martino di
Bartolomeo centred on a half-length Virgin and Child
with half-length saints to each side. A 1402 polyptych centred on a
Virgin and Child Enthroned by Martino di Bartolomeo and Giovanni di
Pietro da Napoli.
Dedicated to Saint Christina of Bolsena, this church is documented from the
9th century, originally dedicated to San Bartolomeo, and acquiring its current name in 1028
when relics of Saint Christina came here.
The church was destroyed by a flood in 1115 and rebuilt in 1118 . From the 13th to the
16th century it belonged to the Duomo.
Restored in its current form in 1816,
it being by then in a poor state. This work was done by Francesco Riccetti,
who also rebuilt the campanile, and paid for by Count Luigi Archinto,
a member of a prominent Milanese family who moved to Pisa in the late 18th
century and in 1814 had acquired the Agnello palace next to the church. In 1854 work to widen the Lungarno Gambacorti
nearly saw the church demolished, but it was saved by making the
river-facing side look like the surrounding buildings, windows and all.
An aisleless nave, perhaps 10th or 11th century with remains of 19th-century
neoclassical monochrome wall decorations, a 14th-century Virgin and
Child panel, an early-17th-century canvas by Domenico Passignano of
Catherine Receiving the Stigmata, with a 17th-century view of the Pisan
There's a nineteenth-century copy of Enrico di
Tedice's Crucifix (14th century) which once hung in this church and in front of which Saint
Catherine of Siena had received the stigmata here in 1375.
Raymond of Capua in his Life of Saint
Catherine of Siena wrote:
Arriving in Pisa with a number of other people, of whom I
was one, Catherine was put up by a citizen who had a house near the Santa
Cristina chapel. After receiving communion here she has an ecstatic
episode and later tells Raymond 'You must know, Father, that by the
mercy of the Lord Jesus I now bear in my body His stigmata." and "I
exclaimed, 'O Lord God, I beg you – do not let these scars show on the
outside of my body!'
Santa Croce in
Piazza Santa Croce in
The area where the monastery was
built had been swampy and by the 11/12th century dredged into a network of
ditches, commissioned by someone called Bando, hence the name of
Fossabandi. By 1238, a Dominican convent had been founded here. In the
14th century renaissance reconstruction was carried out to designs by
Bartolomeo da Cantone, the Prior of the convent of Santa Caterina in Pisa.
From around 1332 the monks had occupied a safer central site adjacent to
the church of San Silvestro, In 1426 the complex was further refurbished,
this time under Franciscan rule. The portico was added at this time and
the cloister to the south of the church was erected. Traces of
16th-century frescoes remain in the lunettes of the cloister.
The monastery suffered Napoleonic suppression in 1810. A Coronation of the
Virgin from 1474 was looted by the French and is now in the Dijon Museum.
By 1875 the convent was being used as a Lazzaretto during the cholera
epidemic of that year. The cloister now houses a hotel.
Nicely proportioned in Brunelleschi-style
with Pietra Serena vaults, details and altars - three on the left
and two on the right, the first this side being a chapel. Raised
presbytery with modern stained glass in the square apse which has stalls.
Franciscan-themed 17th century side altarpieces, one by Francesco Curradi of
Saint Francis prays before the Apparition of Christ and the Virgin,
painted after 1627.
The chapel has a very nice gold ground panel depicting the Virgin
and Child Enthroned with Angels (see right) without it's frame.
It's by the Portuguese painter Alvaro Pirez di Evora, active in Pisa in
the early 15th-century.
A Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Anthony of Padua, Ranieri and
Francis by Zanobi Machiavelli from 1460/70 (see below) is in
Following Napoleonic suppression in 1810
a Coronation of the Virgin from 1474, also by Zanobi Machiavelli,
was looted by the French and is now in the Dijon Musée des Beaux-arts.
Via dei Mille
The church is documented from 780 but in
its present form dates to 1124, when it was dedicated to Saints Euphrasia
and Barbara by Cardinal Cristofano Malcondime. After being under the
patronage of the Griffi family and then of the San Casciani family in 1691
it passed to the Order of Santo Stefano.
Major restorations date to the early 17th century, and to 1717, when the
church passed to the Discalced Teresians of the Carmelite Order. The
interior was also renovated in the 18th century with typical stucco work
and new side altars. This work was completed
by 1730 and the church reopened.
In 1810 the building passed to the Compagnia delle Sacre Stimmate di San
Francesco and new restoration work was carried out in 1888 by Raffaello
Torrini, rector of the University of Pisa. Until the 1960s, before
deconsecration, it was occupied by the Salesian Fathers.
The 2011 rebuilding work for conversion to educational use by the
University of Pisa revealed, at the back of the church, a forgotten
flooded burial chamber in the shape of a horseshoe with a well in
the centre and a plinth along the walls engraved with names of the
deceased from the 18th century.
It is currently in use by the University of Pisa as one of
the study rooms of the Biblioteca di Antichistica.
The lower façade is medieval while the upper one dates to the 18th century
An aisleless nave with a barrel vault with
18th-century columns, pillars and stucco. On the left wall there is an
18th-century white marble altar dedicated to San Domenico Savio, then one
in polychrome marble and one in pietre dure dedicated to Santa
Teresa. There are two matching altars on the right wall.
On the high altar, built by the Vaccà family, there was a wooden crucifix
by Giuseppe Giacobbi. In the apse were four later paintings, now lost, by
Giovanni Camillo Gabrielli.
Altarpieces depicting The Death of
Santa Teresa by Mauro Soderini and The Death of Saint Joseph by Francesco
Conti and Ignazio Hugford are now in the nearby church
of San Sisto and in the Museum of San Matteo. Another 13th-century
panel depicting the Virgin and Saints Euphrasia and Barbara,
probably part of an altarpiece, was moved to the church of Santa Maria Madre della Chiesa,
in via Giuseppe Parini after the deconsecration here.
Santa Maria del Carmine
A church built for Carmelites
1324-1328 and subject to many rebuildings of church and convent in the
late 16th/early 17th century, being reconsecrated in 1612, bomb damaged in
the WWII, especially the roof, and re-built in 1965. The current façade was
designed by Alessandro Gherardesca, in the 1830s. The vhurch was closed for restoration
in 2021, was due to reopen in 2022, but was still covered in scaffolding in
Baroque accretions and altars following the Council of Trent mask the
14th-centiry structure. Later altarpieces on the
16th century altars include the Virgin in Glory with Saints by Aurelio Lomi
from c.1590 and the Ascension of Christ by Alessandro Allori from 1581,
above the first and second altars on the north wall, and the Apparition of
the Virgin to St. Andrea Corsini by Francesco Curradi of c.1629, above
the altar inside the façade. Other altarpieces are by Baccio Lomi, Santi di Tito,
and Andrea Boscoli.
In the refectory there is still a fragment of a 14th century Annunciation.
In three lunettes in the cloister there are early 17th century frescoes –
what remains of a cycle of Stories from the Lives of Carmelite Saints
The Life of Christ.
A polyptych was painted in 1426 by Masaccio for the chapel of Giuliano di
Colino degli Scarsi here. After the 17th century
rebuilding it was split up and dispersed. It is one of only four
altarpieces by Masaccio to survive and was mentioned by Vasari in
the second edition of his Lives of the Artists, published in 1568. He describes the
Virgin and Child in the
centre, with ‘some little angels playing music’, surrounded by Saints Peter, John the Baptist, Julian and Nicholas. He
describes a Crucifixion above the Virgin and Child, and that
the predella included an image of the Adoration of the Magi. The
location of the large saints flanking the Virgin and Child and two of the
smaller saints above them is not known.
Of the main panels the central Virgin and Child Enthroned
is now in National Gallery in London, the Crucifixion is now in Museo di
Capodimonte in Naples, Saint Paul is in San Matteo and
Andrew is in the Getty. The three predella panels (The Martyrdom of
St. John the Baptist and The Crucifixion of St Peter, The Adoration of the
Magi and Stories of Saints Julian and Nicholas) and the four small saints
(Augustine, Jerome and two Carmelite Saints) from the pilasters
are in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin.
of the Masaccio altarpiece
Santa Maria della Spina
First built in 1230 and enlarged
after 1325 but to avoid flooding it was rebuilt in 1871 in
a higher position. This work, directed by Vincenzo Micheli Pellegrini,
which saw the church raised by about a metre, many sculptures replaced
with copies and the sacristy demolished, outraged John Ruskin, visiting
Pisa in 1872. It was originally a sailor's oratory called Santa Maria di
Pontenovo after the new bridge nearby which collapsed in the 15th century.
Its current name refers to the Crown of Thorns relic brought there
in 1333, now
in Santa Chiara.
The exterior is faced with polychrome marble.
The Virgin and Child with Two Angels in the tabernacle on the façade is
attributed to Giovanni Pisano.
A stripped-out single nave with a ceiling painted during the 19th century
reconstruction. In the centre of the presbytery is the Madonna of the Rose
by Andrea and Nino Pisano. On the left wall is the tabernacle which housed
the thorn relic, by Stagio Stagi from 1534. The relic itself being now in Santa
The Madonna del Latte, by the Pisanos, once here, is now in San Matteo,
as are other figures (some in a dedicated room) and a rose window. Also a
1542 Sacred Conversation by Sodoma.
'As I was drawing the cross carved on the spandril of the
western arch of the church of Santa Maria della Spina at Pisa, in 1872, it
was dashed to pieces by a mason before my eyes, and the pieces carried
away, that a model might be carved from them and set up in its stead'.
On an earlier visit he had reported 'getting upon the roof of Santa
Maria della Spina, and sitting in the sunlight that transfused the warm
marble of its pinnacles, till unabated brightness went down beyond the
arches of the Ponte-a-Mare'.
Via Santa Marta
Built in 1342, the church of Santa Viviana
in Suarta and the Dominican monastery of Santa Marta, formerly called
della Misericordia, now lost, were founded by the Dominican friar the Blessed Domenico Cavalca.
The monastery later passed to the Sisters of Penance.
The abandoned church, still called, Santa Viviana in Suarta was rebuilt 1760-77 to plans
by Matteo Tarocchi, with some involvement by Andrea Vaccà in the
sculptural elements. The monastery was suppressed in 1785 and in
1795 renamed Santa Marta by Archbishop Angiolo Franceschi.
On 14 January 2012 the Chapel of the Madonna delle Grazie reopened
following restoration work which found original frescoes.
Aisleless with a barrel vault and stucco work, including vegetables and putti, by Angelo Somazzi.
The Crucifix with Stories of the Passion over the high altar is
Pisan and dates to 1280.
The left-hand altar, by Giuseppe Vaccà, has Saint Martha asking for the
Resurrection of Lazarus by Giovanni Battista Tempesti from 1770. The other
side altar has an Adoration of the Shepherds of 1779 by Lorenzo Pecheux,
A 14th century Virgin and
Child with Saints polyptych by Giovanni di Nicola, a tabernacle from
c.1468 depicting The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
and Donors by Benozzo Gozzoli (see below left), a Nativity by Francesco Curradi and a
Christ in the House of Martha and Magdalene by Matteo Rosselli are all in
San Matteo. As is a 1386 polyptych centred on a Crucifixion by
Cecco di Pietro (see below right)
Two 14th-century panels depicting S. Margherita and S. Michele Arcangelo
are in the Amedeo Lia Museum in La Spezia.
Santa Maria Maddalena
Via Giuseppe Mazzini
Santi Vito e Ranieri
An oratory stood here in 1156, belonging to the Order of
Malta. Rebuilt in Baroque style in 1717 by Andrea Vaccà. Bomb damaged in
WWII, being reported as "half destroyed" at the time.
Aisleless nave, barrel vaulted, with monumental marble and stucco altars
also by Vaccà.
17th century altarpieces and on the high altar a wooden crucifix from 1640 .
First documented in 1051, but
differently oriented, by 1069 it was flanked by a monastery of
Benedictines from Gorgona. Rainerius (San Ranieri), the patron saint of Pisa,
according to tradition died here on 17th June 1161. In the early 15th
century the complex passed to nuns of Santa Chiara. A century later it was
damaged during the Florentine siege and around 1787 the church was rebuilt
and then damaged by bombing during WWII in August 1943 and rebuilt in 18th century
The church, owned by the municipality and disused for 10 years, was in July
2019 granted for use by the Parish of San Nicola until 2024 for a
payment by the Parish of a 'symbolic' fee of 400 euros a year.
An aisless nave, the back wall has a painting of the Flight into Egypt by Aurelio Lomi,
here since 1960 .
A 14th-century plaque to the Scacceri family remains on the floor of the
original medieval structure.
On the east wall there's a large fresco of San Ranieri, still
unfinished, the work being carried out using Renaissance techniques by the
artist Luca Battini.
During the bombing two paintings by Ranieri Borghetti (1635), one by Tempesti and one attributed to the school of Andrea del Tailor
were lost, as was the wooden ceiling, decorated with paintings by the circle of Ventura Salimbeni.
The four-volume Calci Bible of 1168, made for this monastery
but then passed to the abbey of San Gorgonio on the island of Gorgona,
whose holdings went to the Carthusian Certosa of Calci after its
closure, where it appears in an inventory of 1378. In 1972 it went to San
Matteo Museum, but since October 2014 it has been housed, back at the
Certosa, in display cases in the sacristy.
Watch a video here
Built in 1793 to designs by Roberto Bombicci and curiously Normanly
Piazza Santo Sepolcro
Founded by the Hospitaller Knights of St.
John of Jerusalem in 1113 and documented from as early as 1138, attached
to a small hospital. An inscription on a marble slab set into the
campanile says that this centrally-planned church was built to designs by Diotisalvi, who designed the
Pisa Duomo's circular Baptistery in 1153. His bust by Santo Varni in 1859 is over the
An octagonal plan topped by a pyramidal spire, there was also a
surrounding Renaissance loggia portico in the 16th century, removed in the
19th, and seen in the drawing from 1840 (see below). The church was dedicated to the Holy Sepulchre
because relics from said structure in Jerusalem were brought to Pisa by Archbishop Dagobert
upon his return from the First Crusade and this church is shaped like the Dome of the Rock.
There was restoration work 1970-1973, following the flooding of the Arno in 1966,
and the church reopened for worship in 1975.
interior was rebuilt in Baroque style in 1720, but in the 19th century,
when the loggia was demolished, the baroque altars and ornament were
removed to return the church to its rough-stone medieval form.
In a niche on the east wall is a 15th centuryVirgin and Child
attributed to the school of Benozzo Gozzoli.
Set into the Venetian-style floor by the
entrance is the large tombstone of Maria Mancini Colonna, the niece of
Cardinal Mazarin and the wife of the viceroy of Naples Lorenzo Colonna,
whose name was controversially connected to the future Louis XIV in her younger
There's also a small stone well by the south door with a 12th-century bucket said
to have been used by Santa Ubaldesca to transform the well's water into
wine. She having spent many years here caring for pilgrims. There's a
15th century wooden reliquary of her here too.
A 12th century painted Crucifix with Passion Scenes on
the front and an Annunciation of the back, by an unknown
Roman/Tuscan artist are in the San Matteo gallery.
Contemporary with the church, small, Pisan-Romanesque, unfinished, with
a rectangular plan.
Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
Piazza dei Cavalieri
This was the site of an older church called
San Sebastiano alle Fabbriche Maggiori, which dated to at least 1074 and
took its name from the local blacksmiths' workshops. From the 17th of
April 1565 this church was built here for the Knights of Santo Stefano, an
order founded by Grand Duke Cosimo de' Medici to fight Saracen piracy in
the Mediterranean. It was made to designs by Giorgio Vasari and
completed by David Fortini in August 1567, with consecration on the 21st
of December 1569. The last major rebuilding, by the engineer
Gaetano Niccoli, was completed in 1859 after the suppression of the order.
Following suppression the church eventually passed to the state. In WWII
the church was damaged by a fall of masonry from the campanile, the late
Renaissance gilded and painted ceiling suffering severely, but the ceiling
paintings had been removed to safety..
The Carrara marble façade was designed by Don
Giovanni de' Medici, the illegitimate son of Cosimo I, with help from
Alessandro Pieroni, a Medici favourite, in preference to Vasari's original
design. (Many drawings for this church by Vasari and Pieroni are to be
found in the Vatican Library)
An aisleless nave with robes in frames and much 17th-century art,
mostly celebrating the Order of the Knights of
On the inner-façade and along the walls are five
monochrome paintings of Episodes from the Life of Saint Stephen
commissioned to celebrate the entry into Pisa of Grand Duke Ferdinand II
on March 31, 1588 who himself commissioned the carved and gilded wooden
ceiling from Bartolomeo Atticciati (1604). The six panel paintings
depict exploits of the Order, executed by Medici-favourite Florentine
artists. Starting over the altar is the Vestition of Cosimo I de 'Medici
by Ludovico Cardi (il Cigoli) the Return of the Fleet from the Battle of Lepanto by Jacopo Ligozzi,
The Embarkation of Maria de'Medici in Livorno by Cristofano Allori,
The Victory in the Greek Archipelago by Jacopo Chimenti, called Empoli, who is also responsible for
The Taking of the
City of Bona, and The Conquest of the City of Preveza, again by Ligozzi.
On the left wall the polychrome marble pulpit is by the Florentine
Chiarissimo Fancelli (1627), coming from the Duomo. On the right, near
the presbytery, is the 1593 painting by the Pisan Aurelio Lomi of the
Virgin and Child with Saints Joseph and Stephen, made for the nearby
Palace of the Order of the Knights.
altar and the nave were designed by Pier Francesco Silvani.
In the right wing of the transept there was the Stoning of Saint Stephen
from 1571 by
Vasari, currently exhibited in the presbytery.
In the left wing is Bronzino 's Nativity, signed and dated 1564.
Built between 1570 and 1572 by Giovanni Fancelli to designs by Vasari.
Donatello's reliquary bust of San Rossore (Saint Luxurius) (see
right) from 1422-25 is now in the San Matteo museum. This version was
commissioned when the Humiliati translated his skull relic from this
church to their church of Ognissanti in Florence in 1422.
A very blue Lady of Sorrows panel from
c.1520 by Quentyn Metsys. It was recovered after a theft by the Artistic
Heritage Protection Command Unit in Florence in 2014. It's now also in San Matteo.
Monday to Saturday, 10.00 am-7.00 pm / Sunday 1.00 pm-7.30
Ticket: € 1.50
Update June 2023 None of the above seems to