San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno Church Pisa

The San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno Church, as the name indicates, stands in close proximity to the river Arno in Pisa. This church is run by the Benedictine Order of the Vallombrosians and has often been reconstructed. The last time this happened was after World War II.

San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno Church Pisa

Address, opening hours and entrance fee

Address: Piazza San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno – Pisa. Telephone: Not known. Opening hours: The church is closed due to restoration works. (NB: Due to the Covid crisis, opening hours may differ from those indicated here).

History and description

The fact that the San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno is also called the Duomo Vecchio (“Old Cathedral”) is due to the fact that the archbishop used the church to celebrate mass there while the current Cathedral was being built.

The church was built in the early beginning of the 9th century. Reconstructions took place at the end of the 11th/beginning of the 12th, in the 14th (by Giovanni Pisano) and in the 18th century. After World War II a complete reconstruction was necessary because of heavy bombardments that affected the whole neighbourhood.

The fairly intact exterior has a facade of which the lower part is characterised by five blind arches. These arches frame small rose windows and lozenges. The latter are typical of Pisan architecture.

The floor plan is Latin and the church has three naves separated by 10 columns with Romanesque capitals.

Works of art

The frescoes above the first column on the left depict “Saints Bartholomew and Francis” and were painted by Buffalmacco (1290-1340). Buonamico Buffalmacco is best known for the frescoes he painted for the Camposanto cemetery.

Turino Vanni (c. 1348-c. 1438) painted the “Madonna with Child and St. Ranieri, St. Torpé and two Saints (1397)”.

The façade is adorned by a Roman sarcophagus decorated with lion heads. It contains the mortal remains of a 12th century lawyer, politician and translator called Burgondio.

San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno church, Pisa

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