Santa Maria della Spina Church, Pisa

Santa Maria della Spina Church, Pisa

This tiny church boasts one of the most outstanding Gothic edifices in all of Europe. It's a simple rectangular building, but the exterior is built entirely of marble and features ornate cusps, tympani, and tabernacles. There are detailed sculptures all over the walls, plus rose windows and many 14th century statues.

The church was built in 1230 and then enlarged in 1325. It was originally known as Santa Maria Di Pontenovo in honor of a bridge that existed at the time. Unfortunately, that bridge collapsed in the 1400s and was never rebuilt.

At one time, the church was home to a thorn--allegedly part of the Crown of Thorns placed on Christ's head during his Crucifixion. The relic is now on display at Santa Chiara Church, but this church has kept the name "della spina" or "of the thorn."

The church was renovated in 1871 to raise it above the flood level of the Arno River. The church was altered to the extent that locals and visitors like Englishman John Ruskin were outraged.

The interior of the church is rather spartan compared to the outside. This is because the ceiling was painted during the 19th-century renovations. A masterpiece of Gothic sculpture stands in the center--Madonna of the Rose by Andrea and Nino Pisano.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Pisa. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Santa Maria della Spina Church on Map

Sight Name: Santa Maria della Spina Church
Sight Location: Pisa, Italy (See walking tours in Pisa)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Pisa, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Pisa

Create Your Own Walk in Pisa

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Pisa's Historical Churches Tour

Pisa's Historical Churches Tour

The city of Pisa is one of the richest in Italy when it comes to church heritage. This historic city is home to many great churches and cathedrals that have the most wonderful paintings, sculptures and architecture. Take this self-guided walk walking tour to see the most beautiful houses of worship in Pisa.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Pisa Palaces Walking Tour

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Pisa Introduction Walking Tour

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As Galileo's hometown, Pisa boasts a number of places linked to his life, of...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles