Church of San Pierino in Vinculis

Facciata - Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincoli (P. Fisicaro)
Facciata - Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincoli (P. Fisicaro)
San Pierino in Vinculis is mentioned in 763 with the name of San Pietro ai Sette Pini. Today it looks like an elegant and austere building, which plays on the dual tone of the verrucana stone and the geometries typical of the Pisan Romanesque style. The façade is divided into two levels, with five blind arches, mullioned windows on the first and three blind arches and one mullioned window on the second. The Bell tower it is a re-adaptation of a 12th century civil tower. The interior is of great impact and is accessed via a staircase that leads into a space divided into three naves by columns with Romanesque capitals. The floor, in cosmatesque style, is perhaps the most valuable in the city together with that of the Cathedral, and dates back to the 12th century. Some frescoes from the eleventh and twelfth centuries are still visible in the counter-façade (the Annunciation) and in a small niche near the main altar (depicting St. Peter and the Angel). A large painted cross from the 13th century, attributed to Michele di Baldovino, dominates the entire central nave. The crypt, the only one survived in the whole city, is composed of four naves on columns with bare capitals (late Roman) and features frescoes by Francesco Neri from Volterra (1367), as well as some tombstones.

History in a nutshell: the eighth century building was enlarged and ceded to the Augustinians, between 1072 and 1081, who built the rectory and raised the floor to make room for the crypt, used for public and private functions, given the presence of the famous Pisan pandects. Further interventions followed until the 19th century but did not alter the building’s structure.
The Pisan pandects: the Corpus iuris civilis (Civil Law Code) is one of the most important documents for law history, a text created at the behest of Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 533,t to collect in a single body all the regulatory and jurisprudential material of the Roman Empire. It has formed the basis for the legal order of many modern Western countries. A copy of this document was kept in the city of Amalfi, but passed into the hands of the Pisans after the Amalfi defeat in 1136 at the hands of Roger II of Sicily. The code, or Pandects, was brought to Pisa and kept inside the Church of San Pierino in Vinculis, right in the crypt. In 1406, Florentines, after conquered the city, stole the code to take it to Florence, where it is still located, inside the Laurentian library.
Last update: 01/04/2021
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