Romanesque Church of San Jacopo | Vicopisano

The Romanesque church of San Jacopo stands about 1 km from Vicopisano. It was built in the Longobard era and originally dedicated to San Mamiliano, as the inscription inscribed on the lintel of the main portal still recalls. The cult of this saint was widespread especially in the Tuscan Archipelago and in Upper Lazio. Documented as early as the 8th century, it was annexed to the monastic complex of the Augustinian Hermits. Named after San Iacopo in the first half of the 15th century, it began to decay shortly afterwards due to the constant wars between Pisa and Florence. In the 19th century, the remains of the ancient monastery were converted into a large farmhouse, later a private villa.

The church has a tau (T) plan and masonry in Verrucano limestone ashlars. The portal is framed by pilasters, one of which has a horned animal’s head in relief, surmounted by a richly decorated architrave that was part of the older church, together with a mullioned window and a bas-relief from the 8th-9th century depicting a biblical scene. The massive bell tower, similar to a defence tower, was lowered in height following a mine detonated by retreating Nazis in 1944.

The interior, with a single nave and no apse, has capitals richly decorated with plant and animal motifs. It contains 14th-century frescoes, detached and reassembled on panels, depicting several saints; a bishop saint, possibly St. Mamiliano, St. John the Baptist and a fragment of St. Jerome. Along the right wall, there is a relief shelf depicting the Dextera Domini (10th century) and a figurative slab with a symbolic scene that seems to allude to the Passion of Christ (9th-10th century).

Open on special occasions, such as the end of July festival

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