San Sisto in Corte Vecchia is the oldest church in Pisa that has best preserved its original form.

The construction dates back to 1087, following the conquest of Al Mahdiya in Tunisia. The name “Cortevecchia” recalls the presence of the Longobard gastaldo in the early Middle Ages, before Pisa became a free Republic. It has a stone facade and Pisan Romanesque style decorated with arches and copies of Islamic majolica (originals are exhibited in the Museum of San Matteo) as well as a curious cusp-shaped bell tower on the back.

The interior, rather dark because of the little light that filters through the windows, has three naves divided by columns with Roman capitals. Although it does not have any important works of art, it has an undeniable melancholic charm.

It preserves a rudder of a Pisan ship (14th century), in memory of the symbolic role played by the church at the time of the Sea Republic. In fact, the mortuary stone of the Emir Al Murtada in memory of the conquest of the Balearic Islands (1165) by the Pisan fleet and copies of the flags of the four historical city quarters can be found here.


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