Via S. Martino, examples of re-use
The re-use of ancient objects was a widespread custom known as re-employment, in other words, incorporating important architectural and ornamental elements from the past into newer structures, both for their intrinsic artistic merit and as proof of past glories.
This custom was widespread in Pisa because the city saw itself as the direct heir to ancient Rome and her power. Here we mention only two very important examples: one is the low-relief statue of "donna Chinzica" and the other a pear-shaped Etruscan cippus (funeral stone), both of which are on the once-important via S. Martino.
“Donna Chinzica” is a fragment from a Roman sarcophagus, dating from the final decades of the 2nd century BC; it is a statuette of a draped woman, set into the façade of a medieval casa torre on via S.Martino. Popular tradition holds that this woman is the heroin Chinzica dei Sismondi, who saved Pisa from a Saracen incursion in the middle ages.
The second example is a pear-shaped Etruscan cippus standing on the corner of via S. Martino and via La Pera. It is an example of local craftsmanship that specialised in small marble funeral memorials and dates from the second half of the 6th century BC. These usually stood on a plinth decorated with rams’ heads at the corners. The style is definitely north Ionian, the result of the diaspora of these peoples after the Persian conquest, that eventually involved all of northern Etruria, in various ways according to each Etruscan city.