Pisans call this square piazza della Pera because of the ancient Etruscan pear-shaped cippus nearby, on the corner of via S. Martino. Thanks to careful archaeological explorations in 2004 that uncovered the remains of the medieval church of S. Lorenzo in Chinzica, (demolished in 1932), the history of piazza Gambacorti from the 12th century to now has been reconstructed.
The church, built in the early 12th century, by a rich Pisan family, was re-structured several times, to follow changing tastes and fashions and to satisfy the ambitions of its various owners. In 1784 it was deconsecrated. An earlier rectangular church, with three aisles, divided by two rows of pillars, but no apse, covered an area of roughly 300 sq m, was built with large blocks of stone.
The facade, facing today’s via S. Lorenzino, had a wide central doorway and two side entrances. Several unfortunate accidents, including various fires in the roof and flooding from the river, meant the Church often needed repairs. The flooring was renewed more than once, its level raised and partly repaired with bricks at the end of the 14th century. The many graves dug inside the church date from the end of the 17th century.
After deconsecration, the Church was adapted for housing. This is seen from several facilities for rubbish disposal built at this time that were still in use at the end of the 20th century. The contents of these bottini (fragments of vessels, crockery and remains of food) provided important information concerning the eating habits and daily life of the inhabitants.