Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno and Sant’Agata chapel

Chiesa di San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno (G. Bettini, Comune di Pisa)
Chiesa di San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno (G. Bettini, Comune di Pisa)
Through Porta Degazia Nuova we enter one of the most beautiful areas in the city, where we catch a glimpse of the church of San Paolo in Ripa d’Arno among the lime trees, also known as the Duomo Vecchio (Old Cathedral) of Pisa. The style follows that of the of Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, with a Pisan-Romanesque style. The façade shows a curious asymmetry, given by the presence of blind round arches to the left of the central portal and pointed arches with a vague Norman influence in the decorations of the serrated rings to the right. Inside, there is an evocative space divided by large columns into three naves with carved Romanesque capitals, in which some remains of frescoes by Bonamico Buffalmacco are still visible and in the counter-façade is the sarcophagus of the jurisconsult Giovanni Burgundio, who lived in the twelfth century and is believed to be the Greek translator of the Justinian's Digest. On the right side of the church there is a beautiful garden, with a children playground, an ideal place to stop and drink from the fountain on the opposite side, towards the Lungarno Sonnino. On the back it is possible to see the remains of the cloister, with the chapter chapel of Sant’Agata a Ripa of Arno, built in the first half of the XII century probably by Diotisalvi, the architect of the Baptistery in Piazza Del Duomo.

A brief history: The church was founded around 925, but for a long time it remained a constantly evolving construction site under the guidance of the Benedictine monks of Vallombrosa. During the siege of Pisa in 1406, the year in which the city passed under the Florentine dominion, the church suffered a lot of damage, but the most evident alterations are the result of the last world war that led to the complete demolition of what was the monastery and the facilities behind it, thus making the curious chapel of Saint Agatha visible.
Very peculiar buildings are visible near the church:
  • Villa di Maio: it was built in the early twentieth century in Art Nouveau style. The building is divided into several volumes, sided by a beautiful loggia and dominated by a tower with a roof terrace. The decorations of the frames and capitals are inspired by a vast Renaissance repertoire and the wrought iron works are an interweaving of floral shapes and figures.
  • Casa del Mutilato (Via Romiti 2): An Art Nouveau building, inaugurated in 1928 and designed by Federico Severini. Today, it houses the Mental Health Centre of Pisa.
The religious building was the set of a scene from the film 7 songs for 7 sisters (1956) by Marino Girolami. For the filming of the last scene, the crew placed a trolley in front of the church of San Paolo a Ripa d’ Arno.
Last update: 01/04/2021
Via Cesare Battisti, 99
Recapito 340 5468497
Via Alessandro Manzoni, 22
Recapito 050 44551
Via Enrico Fermi, 13
Recapito 050 49597
V. S. Paolo, 16
Recapito 050 501194
Via Volturno, 23
Recapito 050 2200293
Via S. Antonio, 33
Recapito 339 8533300,050 500733,050 541090
Via Di P.Ta Mare, 7
Recapito 050 525396