Santa Maria Della Spina, Pisa

Currently Closed
  • Address: Lungarno Gambacorti, Pisa PI, Italy
  • Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details
  • Phone: +39050-910111
  • Ticket Price: 2 EUR
  • Tags: Church, Religious Site, Historical Site
  • Map
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About Santa Maria Della Spina, Pisa

Austere walls point upwards and prick the sky as you gaze upon the darkly beautiful Santa Maria della Spina. Many find it hard to believe that this incredibly beautiful Gothic church was fashioned out of a featureless slab of white marble. You’ll be enchanted by this small church, situated near the Arno river. This church is said to have housed a thorn from the crown of Christ himself, thus the word ‘Spina’ in its title. Its ornate exterior, diminutive size and dreamy location will shoot Cupid’s arrow straight into your heart.

The church was erected in 1230 and was originally called Santa Maria di Pontenovo. In 1333, it said that the church was home to a thorn, broken off from atop the crown of Jesus Christ himself, thus the new name. Though the thorn is now preserved in the Church of Santa Chiara, the moniker stuck around and even today, the church goes by the title ‘Santa Maria della Spina’. In 1871, the church was torn down and rebuilt, brick by brick, in order to avoid water damage from the steadily rising river Arno.

The church looks like a decorative ornament, more likely to be on top of a cake rather than amongst the colourful menagerie of Italian houses it is surrounded by. Its exterior is known to be one of the most impressive works of art in all of Europe. Its rectangular body is striped and covered in stunningly intricate tabernacles and cusps. The facade has two arched gates, upon which rests a statue of Madonna with the Child and two Angels. If you look closely, you’ll be able to scout out a statue of Christ as well. With all these wondrous and well crafted figures grazing the cake-white body of the facade, visitors are often taken aback by the sheer beauty of this church. Contrastingly, the interior is quite minimalistic with a painted ceiling over a single room. It is here that the main artistic attraction lies is wait, a Gothic sculpture of the Madonna of the Rose by Andrea and Nino Pisano. The duo had created another statue for this church but it was shifted to the city’s National Museum of San Matteo.

Stroll along the river Arno as it gently laps against your feet until you reach this beauty. Drink it all in while the sunlight bounces of its white marble façade, lending it a warm glow. At night, the church is lit up by floodlights, turning it into a luminous fairy castle, calming and beautiful against the night sky. If you visit on a calm evening, you can take photographs of the church’s reflection in the river water. Spend time studying the heavily decorated exteriors and absorb every tiny detail. Once you enter the church, you’ll be dazzled by streams of sunlight, tinted by the Rose windows, forming shimmering patters on the white floors. The Santa Maria della Spina is one of Pisa’s lesser known jewels and one that you must discover for yourself to appreciate!

Santa Maria Della Spina Information

  • Check out their show on plumb bobs, calld ‘Looking for the Vertical’. Even those who do not care for the intricacies of architecture will be appreciative of its beauty.
  • Do take the time to study all the details in the exterior and interiors, they’re so delicate and lifelike that you’re sure to be amazed that human hands crafted these.
  • The church has sporadic opening hours, which can be checked at Pisa’s tourist office.
  • These days, the Church is more of a museum than a church and a new exhibition is about to be opened. Due to this, the Church is shut most of the time. Be sure to call in advance so that you can view the interiors as well.

How To reach Santa Maria Della Spina by Public Transport

  • A bus services the area and Pisa's central train station is just a short walk away.

Restaurants Near Santa Maria Della Spina

  • Osteriadei Cavalieri (Italian/Moderate)
  • Ristorante la Bucca (Italian/Moderate)
  • Pick A Flower(Italian, Seafood, European/Moderate)

Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in Pisa before you plan your trip.

Fancy a good night's sleep after a tiring day? Check out where to stay in Pisa and book an accommodation of your choice.

TripHobo Highlights for Santa Maria Della Spina

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Things to Know Before Visiting Santa Maria Della Spina

  • 28.81% of people who visit Pisa include Santa Maria Della Spina in their plan

  • 65.72% of people start their Santa Maria Della Spina visit around 3 PM - 4 PM

  • People usually take around 30 Minutes to see Santa Maria Della Spina

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

52.89% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting Santa Maria Della Spina

People normally club together Borgo Stretto and The Knights' Square while planning their visit to Santa Maria Della Spina.

* The facts given above are based on traveler data on TripHobo and might vary from the actual figures

Santa Maria Della Spina, Pisa Reviews

  • Just nice and intresting place to go by , you can see the beatiful curves thats made all around , very beatiful and authentic place.

  • historical building. church. Nice place, Small but straightforward to the eyes, for its exterior marble sculptures and for its position near the riverbank. The temple was erected in 1230 by the Gualandi family, originally called Santa Maria di Pontenovo, due to the bridge connecting via Sant'Antonio to Via Santa Maria, collapsed in the fifteenth century. The name Spina derives from the fact that it retained a plug that would have been part of the crown worn by Jesus at his crucifixion and carried here in 1333 but kept from the nineteenth century in the church of Santa Chiara. In 1322 the town council decided to expand its work in 1323 and finished before 1376, probably under the direction of Francis's Wolf.

  • Very nice from the outside. Cool that's it's just in the middle of the sidewalk. Amazing details, great architecture. Good photo op.

  • Excellent monument of medieval culture and architecture. You have to buy a ticket to get in. Visitors are allowed to take non commercial photo without flash light.

  • A church on footpath, interesting location.

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