The beautiful church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno is located on the Lungarno Sonnino, behind the Benedictine complex. It is one of the oldest churches in Pisa (1032) and is also known as the Duomo vecchio, since the Archbishop celebrated mass there when the Cathedral of Piazza dei Miracoli was under construction.

Masterpiece of Pisan Romanesque style

San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno was built between the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century, on the southern bank of the Arno. Devastated by the bombings in the summer of 1943 – which also led to the collapse of the ceilings – the church was rebuilt after the war.

The exterior, partially saved, presents a façade in Pisan Romanesque style with blind arcades with rose windows and lozenges. The interior, with a Latin cross plan, has been entirely rebuilt.

It deserves a visit to admire the frescoes by Buffalmacco (the same author of the Triumph of Death in the Camposanto) and the majestic Roman sarcophagus with lion heads that holds the remains of Burgundio, a 12th century Pisan jurist who taught at the University of Paris and was also ambassador of the Republic of Pisa in Constantinople.

Behind the apse there is the Chapel of S. Agata, with an octagonal structure, probably the former Baptistery of the Old Cathedral.

The Church was reopened to the public in 2019 after a 7-years long restoration

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