Monastero di San Silvestro
During the 14th century, the nuns of S. Croce in Fossabanda, feeling insecure because of the exposed position of theirconvent and the dangerous times, needed to move to somewhere safer, inside the city walls. They requested to be transferred to the church of S. Silvestro and the adjacent buildings, once a Benedictine Priory belonging to Montecassino. On 26th October 1332, the Archbishop granted their request and the Dominican nuns moved here permanently in 1405, during the Florentine siege of Pisa.
From the 15th century, plans of the S. Silvestro monastry tell the story of a building in continuous ferment. The most important work was the enlargement of the convent in mid 16th century. In the 1780s, it became necessary to extend the premises once more, achieving the dimensions shown in an 18th century plan, with several cloisters, complete with refectory, kitchens, dormitories, cells for the veiled nuns and the Chapter and two kitchen gardens that already belonged to the nuns.
The buildings were radically transformed at the end of the 18th century when, by will of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the convent was suppressed and its premises became a school for the daughters of noblemen. By Napoleonic decree in October 1810, this school was suppressed and the building turned into Pensionat Academique, a branch of the École Normale of Paris, that dates from 1813. Following this, it became a reformatory then, until recently, students’ lodgings. Now the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa uses the premises for its own purposes.