Chiesa di Santa Caterina
The Church, dedicated to St. Catharine of Alexandria, was built in the early 13th century, but it was with the Dominicans (1222) that the building and annexed convent took shape as they are today. The hall-shaped, double-pitched gabled building was probably completed towards mid 13th century. It was built to answer the need for a large space mainly for preaching but also for worship and to bury the dead. The single nave with trussed roof forms a “T” with the transept, off which lead four cross-vaulted chapels.
The front, completed in the first half of the 14th century, is a development in Gothic style of the Cathedral decoration. Two-tone stripes, in marble from nearby San Giuliano, unite the lower round arches with the three-lobed arches above. These rest on columns with capitals and human heads. Busts of saints in high relief surround a central rose window. The bell tower,built in terracotta, is attributed to Giovanni di Simone, who also built the one at the church of S. Francesco and the Camposanto Monumentale. The interior of the church was renovated after a fire in 1650; among the works are the sepulchure of Archbishop Saltarelli by Andrea and Nino Pisano, the large altarpiece depicting The Triumph of St. Thomas, probably the work of Lippo Memmi and Francesco Traini, and the 17th century wooden cathedra that encloses the one that St. Thomas is said to have preached from.
In ancient times a large polyptich signed by Simone Martini stood on the main altar and in the S. Domenico chapel (cappella dei Caduti) there was a dossal depicting S. Domenico and Stories from his Life signed and dated by Francesco Traini; both are now in the Museum of S. Matteo.