Built in 1230 this is one of italy's finest examples of gothic architecture. It sit right along the Arno river in Pisa. Although rather small and simple on the inside, the outside makes this worth a visit.
This tiny, pale Gothic church on the bank of the river Arno is quite a contrast in scale compared with the huge cathedral in the nearby Campo dei Miracoli . The pinnacles and spires are richly decorated with ornate statues and intricate details. Originally built in 1230, it was moved and re-built piece by piece in 1871 to prevent water damage by the Arno. I passed by here a couple of times but on both occasions the church was locked so I was unable to get a look inside.
Most visitors will be happy to visit the Cathedral of Pisa and then move on. Others, however, might find it interesting to know that there are over 20 historic churches located in the downtown area of Pisa, with the majority dating back to the 11th, 12th or 13th century. While most of them don't boast the same quantity of art treasures as the churches in Florence, walking from church to church is still a nice way to get a taste of the city, especially since admission is usually free. During our day in Pisa, we picked up a city map and visited a dozen churches or so. Most of them were Romanesque in style, but perhaps the most famous one of all is the little white church of Santa Maria della Spina (built in 1230), partly thanks to its location (on the main street leading to the Piazza dei Miracoli, next to the Arno River), but mostly thanks to its remarkable Gothic architecture.
When I was at the VT meeting in Cascais earlier this year I had breakfast one day with member white_smallstar who told me that when I visited Pisa I must be sure to see the church of Santa Maria della Spina because, in her words, “it is a little gem”. So I went, and she was right – it is indeed a gem. Thank you Nico.
The church was built in 1230 and was originally known as Santa Maria de Pontenovo, being named for the “new bridge” that was just beside it at that time. The name was changed to Santa Maria della Spina in 1333, when it became home to the reliquary of a thorn from Christ’s crown (spina is thorn in Italian). The reliquary is no longer there, but the name remains.
One reason for this church’s charm is its close proximity to the river; another its small size; and the third the wonderful Gothic pinnacles that rise from every point of the roof. Many of these are crowned by statues of the Virgin Mary (see photos 2 and 3 for details of these).
We had heard that the interior was rather dull compared to this beautiful exterior and as there is an admission charge we decided not to go in. But if you’d like to have a look, the opening hours are on the city website here.
I'd been to Pisa several times before I finally remembered to take a look at this tiny, but ornate church. Glad I did. Situated along the Arno River to the west of the Corsa, this is a beautiful, if impressively small, church that is said to have at one time housed a thorn from the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus himself!
Step inside and pay the person on your left a couple of euros to enter the church. There's no real 'open' sign so do your best to interpret the hours and give the front doors a reverent tug.
Santa Maria della Spina is a small Gothic church that got its name from the word "Spina" which means Thorn in Italian. It is believed that a thorn from Jesus Christ's crown was kept here. In 1871 this pretty little church was dismantled and rebuilt on a higher level due to dangerous inflitration of water from the Arno. Its unique and pretty architecture makes it stand out from the street around it like a beacon. There is a small charge to enter the church, but to be honest even that isn't worth paying. Just open the doot and have a look inside at an ordinary room not unlike a small church hall and totally unchurchlike. Admire the ouside, forget the inside. The whole building is crowned by a delicate lace of pinnacles and niches, while the facade by tabernacles with statues. The small sculptures portraying Saints and Angels over the tympani are from the Nino Pisano's workshop, while the niche in the right pillar has a Madonna with Child by Giovanni di Balduccio.
When I was walking along the streets, this little church caught my attention. It was really strange for a church to be bulit along the streets, in the middle of nowhere. In 1871, it was taken down a little at a time from the river banks and was rebuilt here.
Santa Maria della Spina is a small Gothic church in the Italian city of Pisa. The church, erected in 1230, was originally known as Santa Maria di Pontenovo: the new name of Spina ("thorn") derives from the presence of a thorn allegedly part of the crown dressed by Christ on the Cross, brought here in 1333. In 1871 the church was dismantled and rebuilt on a higher level due to dangerous inflitration of water from the Arno river: the church was slightly altered in the process, however.it has a rectangular plant, with an external facing wholly composed of marble, laid in polychrome bands.The small sculptures portraying Saints and Angels over the tympani are from the Nino Pisano's workshop, while the niche in the right pillar has a Madonna with Child by Giovanni di Balduccio.
Santa Maria della Spina, charming Pisan-Gothic building, is rising right on the bank of the river Arno, very unusual place for an church. Actually, in 1871 the church was disassembled and again completely assembled on the present Lungarno, because of dangerous seepage of water.
The whole building is crowned by a delicate lace of pinnacles and niches, while the facade by tabernacles with statues. The right side of the church is in particularly richly decorated, there are thirteen niches with the statues, works of the school of Giovanni Pisano.
The Santa Maria Della Spina was built between 1230 - 1323 by Nino and Giovanni Pisano to house a thorn said to be from Christ's crown. It is beautiful on the outside but I didn't go inside because as I approached and realised that you had to pay to get inside and was digging in my bag for my purse, I poked my head around the door (to see if there was anything in there worth paying to see) and the girl taking the money slammed the door in my face. Whereby my purse stayed shut and we were on out way!
The roofline of this tiny church bristles with spiky Gothic pinnacles. miniature spires and niches sheltering statues of apostles and saints. The decorations reflects the history of the church, which was built between 1230 and 1323 to house a thorn (spina) from Christ's Crown of Thorns, the gift of a Pisan merchant. The church was once even closer to the river but was rebuilt on the present site in 1871 to protect it from flooding.
Santa Maria della Spina is a remarkable tiny church along the Arno river.
Originally this church was below the present street level. As a result of constant floods, it was taken apart piece by piece and rebuilt on the new road level.