DISCOVER ROMANESQUE: Province of Pisa Churches
The baptistery of Volterra, opposite the cathedral, shows a characteristic octagonal plan surmounted by a dome. Built from the late 12th to the 13th century, the edifice synthesizes styles and suggestions mostly coming from the Pisa and Florence areas.
At the heart of Volterra, a small jewel box of Etruscan, Roman and medieval treasures, the cathedral and the baptistery rise at the back of the Piazza dei Priori. Today, the cathedral appears as a layered monumental complex, where the still discernible medieval plan was altered by subsequent additions.
The history of the abbey of Santi Giusto, Clemente e Salvatore follows the vicissitudes of the nearby balze (cliffs), which have always characterised the landscape of Volterra and inspired travellers, painters and writers.
The church of San Biagio is set in the characteristic old centre of Montecatini Val di Cecina, a village marked by copper mines which represented the local economy from the Etruscan period to the early 20th century, when production activities were discontinued.
Set in a charming natural context of hills covered with woodland, vineyards and olive groves, the Badia di Morrona currently is currently part of a private estate.
The pieve of San Verano is located in the medieval village of Peccioli. The castle was owned by members of the Gherardesca family, who remised it to the bishop of Volterra in the 12th century. The construction of the pieve, standing right at the back of the public square hosting the Palazzo pretorio, probably dates from this period.
Isolated from the medieval castle, the pieve rises on a hill facing present-day Palaia, making a great example of 13th-century Romanesque architecture in Valdera.
Situated on a terrace of Mount Conserva, the monastic complex is set in the Valle delle Fonti nature reserve.
Along the old road that once connected Pisa to Lucca, the pieve of Pugnano is an atypically two-aisled Romanesque building. This unusual architectural type is due to two different construction phases, which may be recognized in the masonry of the western side.
The Monastery of Nicosia is accessible via a road running through olive groves halfway up the mountainside. Sunk in the greenery, the complex is the result of subsequent enlargements and renovations that have turned it into an imposing building, surrounded by extensive curtain walls marking the boundaries of a property which is now alienated.
The church of Sant'Jacopo in Lupeta is perched on the mountainside, among the green olive groves that characterize the surrounding landscape. This charming Romanesque edifice was built using perfectly squared blocks marked by their dichromatic effects. What makes this construction special is the matching of its monastic structural features, such as the T-shaped plan, with decorative patterns inspired by Pisa cathedral.
In the Middle Ages the pieve of Santa Maria e San Giovanni was located outside the castle of Vicopisano, in a square called ‘Campo di Santa Maria’, where the market used to take place. Set in a strategic location along the medieval road network, the pieve directly referred to the Pisan bishop and its architectural and decorative forms are indeed close to those of Pisa cathedral.
Set in the charming thermal park of Uliveto, the small church of San Martino al Bagno is located in an area wedged between the edge of the limestone quarries of Monte Pisano and the river Arno.
Immersed in the Pisan countryside, the pieve of Santa Giulia is located on the outskirts of Caprona, once dominated by the fortress mentioned by Dante. Built in different stages with various materials and appearinglike an unfinished building, the church tells a story that is almost a thousand years long.
The pieve of Calci is located in the Valgraziosa, a valley owing its name to its pleasant geographical position; until last century, it was known for the large number of mills scattered along the path going up to Mount Serra. Situated in the lower part of the village, the pieve is a significant example of derivation from the building modes of Pisa cathedral.