San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, Pisa
Yes, there is a whole other aspect to Pisa beyond the miracles of Piazza del Duomo. Unfortunately, along with countless other tourists, I never ventured in to explore the rest of city. For me, Pisa was barely a two hour stop during a long drive from Cannes to Rome in May 2009. Piazza dei Miracoli and its monuments were the perfect place for a very fulfilling break from driving, but beyond them, I saw nothing but the views in the attached photos. While I was quite satisfied with my visit of the main monuments, I felt as though I had shamelessly cheated the city. For this reason I plan to return one day.
The church of San Paolo was built in 805 and completely rebuilt during the 11th and 12th centuries and re-dedicated by Eugene III in 1148. The marble front facade, in characteristic Pisan style, has grey and black stripes while the upper part three orders of loggias, very similar to the church of Michele in Borgo.
The church of San Paolo in Ripa d'Arno, also known as Old Duomo, was founded around 925 and modified after the year 1000. It has a marvellous façade with blind arches and loggias; the majestic interior is divided into one nave and two aisles and contains a roman sarcophagus from the IV century used as a medieval tomb and frescoes by Buffalmacco and "Madonna with Child and Saints" by Turino Vanni (XIV century).
800-900 - main edifice is built
805 - foundation is constructed
1148 - the church is reconsacrated by Pope Eugenio III
Mid-19th century - restructuring
1943 - like many Italian buildings, the church is heavily damaged during the bombardments.
2nd half of 20th century - restoration
People also call the church Duomo Vecchio (or, the Old Cathedral). But what I saw was not actually as old as the timeline shows, because there have been many transformations during the ages. The faýade of this cross-shaped (by this I mean a Latin cross) building, which goes back to the 13th century, is similar to that of the todayýs Duomo with three orders of small loggias, five blind arcades, and three portals. Hmmmý This sounds a bit like an maths questioný You know, calculate the total number of architectural detailsý and so on:)))
The lateral walls and the apse are much older than the faýade, being the oldest (if I am not very wrong) parts of the church. But itýs younger than a Roman sarcophagus which happened to be there for a reason I do not know. According to Vasari the church was entirely covered with frescoes by Cimabue and Simone Martini, which, unfortunately, suffered during the bombardments.