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Interesting and unusual little church: it's octagonal.
Designed by the same chap who designed the Baptistery (Deotisalvi), San Sepolcro dates from 1133 and was built for the Knights Templar. After a crusade led by Pisan bishop Daiberto, crusaders wanted a building which included a church, a hospital and a convent and which was based on the octagonal shape of what was thought at the time to be the original church of the Holy Sepulchre.
There was an arcade (16th century) around the church until the 18th century.
The church wasn't open when I visited (open Monday, Wednesday, Friday 4pm - 6pm) but has a few of interesting exterior architectural twirls and twiddles (see additional photos).
Updated Oct 29, 2008
There are three leaning towers in Pisa. This one, at San Nicola, leans quite a lot but it's not so easy to see in photographs because of the adjoining buildings. From the street, though, it is very clear.
The 13th-century tower itself is strange: it begins as a cylinder, then becomes an octagon, then a hexagon. I wonder if the lean was obvious as it was being built and the change of styles was an attempt to prevent the whole thing collapsing?
The exterior is an intriguing mish-mash of marbels and bricks, clearly demonstrating the changes made over the centuries.
I understand the tower contains a magnificent spiral staircase, though I was unable to gain access. There are works by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano ( the wooden crucifix in my photo), as well as a couple of interesting paintings. I particularly liked the modern Peruvian nativity scene (I think it was made by a Peruvian community supported by the church). I loved the guy with a fag in his mouth, and the llamas lurking on the hillside (instead of sheep).
Updated Oct 27, 2008
You might visit the Mueso di S. Matteo, but don't miss looking inside the little convent church next door to the entrance.
Originally built in 1027, it was enlarged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Further changes were made in later centuries.
Inside you'll find a rather good 3D-effect ceiling (I saw a very similar one in the Gesu in Rome: perhaps this is a copy?) as well as various Baroque frescoes. There's also a wooden 14th-century crucifix: I saw a few of these in Pisa and found them rather fascinating. See other photos with this tip.
Updated Oct 27, 2008
Possibly the oldest church in Pisa, San Zeno dates from 1029. It was orginally part of an abbey.
The exterior is fascinating, having not only Islamic ceramic basins (now copies) but also clear evidence of the re-use of Roman carvings, marbles and tiles/bricks. I believe the interior also has a wealth of re-cycled materials but, sadly, the church was closed when I visited.
My photos show the Roman evidence, but I did not stay too long: the homeless person's 'dump' of blanket/bags etc within the church portal turned out (on closer inspection) to contain the homeless person him/herself (hopefully asleep rather than deceased). I thought it prudent to beat a hasty retreat!
Written Oct 27, 2008
Dating from 1251 (although suffering a fire in 1651), this church is in the process of being restored.......a strangely empty place, but one which, nevertheless, retains its atmosphere.
There is a tomb by Andrea Pisano, and a painting of St Thomas Aquinas from the 14th centrury, as well as other paintings and sculptures. A Dominican church originally, the wooden pulpit is said to be the one from which St Thomas preached.
You can still see the frescoes and wall-painting in some parts......beautiful black-and-white arches at the sides.....
Updated Oct 27, 2008
If you're one for pop cultural art than this may be of interest to you. On the entire side of one building there is mural from the late Keith Haring. Don't know who he is? Look at the mural and I bet you recognize his iconic, simplified shapes from somewhere. The amazing part is that it was done in 1987, I believe, and there isn't a single mark of graffiti on it. Worth a look.
Just west of the entrance to the Corsa d'Italia in a tiny bicycle parking area. You cannot see it from the street so you'll have to walk around the building to catch a glimpse.
Written Mar 5, 2008
As you can see there are more places of interest a tourist can visit in Pisa! I prepared a list before and Bagni di Nerone was one of them. Bagni di Nerone or Roman Baths are situated not far from Campo Dei Miracoli. Although they are very small (not as i thought) it's worth it to go and take some pictures. (It's marked No.2 if you click on the other photo).
Written Jun 18, 2006
If you're spending a whole day in Pisa don't miss to go around the city. It's a pleasure to do so and there are many interesting and beautiful spots around like this beautiful Torre Guelfa which is situated on a side of the beautiful river Arno. Here is a map of Pisa (click on the other photo) which I used when I was there. It was very helpful to me. Torre Guelfa is marked No.9. Another lovely place to visit is the splendid Church of S.Maria della Spina, marked No.8. Tourists visit only the Cathedral and the Leaning Tower and that's a big mistake!
Written Jun 18, 2006
As far as I know, this type of coat of arms marks buildings or places where seat of the kings was or it was their property. Couldn't find out weather it reffers to Savoia family or to some prior kings.
Out of Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa is very pieceful place and enjoyable to explore. Most of the time, when strolling around, I was on my own and undisturb by the crowds.
Updated Jun 1, 2006
The project of Keith Haring's mural was born in New York by chance, after the young artist had met a student from Pisa. This 180 sq mt depicted wall can be seen in the quarter of San Antonio, which is situated on the left bank of the river Arno. Search for Convento di San Antonio. "Tuttomondo" means all the world.
Updated May 13, 2006
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