Via Vecchia di Marina, 5
free, by donation
Parish San Piero a Grado
WHAT TO KNOW
The Basilica is the location of a living nativity scene at Christmas time, as well as one of the most sought-after places for weddings and ceremonies.
The Basilica of San Piero a Grado stands where tradition has it that St. Peter landed from Palestine. Before continuing on to Rome, the future first Pope would have celebrated mass here using as an altar a column with a marble top, still in the apse under the late Gothic ciborium.
The Pisan Romanesque style
The current building, built in the eleventh century on the ruins of an early Christian temple, is a striking example of Pisan Romanesque in tuff and white marble with ceramic basins of Islamic style. It has a strange shape, with a double order of apses, three of which face east and one only to the west.
The interior, with a trussed ceiling, is divided into three naves by columns with classical capitals, coming from other buildings.
The frescoes by Deodato Orlandi are splendid: in the lower part of the frescoes the popes are represented from Saint Peter to John XVI proclaimed pope in 1003. This representation is of great importance to be able to identify their faces, since there is another of the first popes (but more recent) only in Rome in the Church of St. Paul. In the upper band is the life of St. Peter with episodes from the lives of St. Paul, Constantine and St. Sylvester.
The Bell Tower
At the back of the basilica is the bell tower, blown up in July 1944 by retreating Nazi troops. The post-war reconstruction involved only the basement. A granite memorial stone reminds us that the Basilica has been proclaimed “Monument Messenger of Peace” by the UNESCO Clubs.