The Convent of Santa Chiara was founded in 1226 to the west of the old town, on a pre-existing convent of Cistercians attested before the 11th century. The 13th-century convent, inhabited by a community of Clarisses nuns, preserves a rich collection of vestments, altar cloths and holy vessels, gifts and donations from the families, wonderful works made by the nuns.
In 1785 the monastery was transformed into a Conservatory for the education of girls, in order to spare it from Napoleon suppressions of religious orders. After the unification of Italy (1861), the institution came under the Italian Ministry of Education and now belongs to the Scuola Normale di Pisa.
The original core of the building is organized around a cloister with arches, which were closed in the 19th century. Notable works are the two painted crosses of the 14th century: the former by the artist Deodato Orlandi (the same author of the frescoes in the Basilica di San Piero a Grado, near Pisa) , and the latter by Mino del Pelliccaio, besides the painting “Noli me tangere” by Ludovico Cardi (known as “Cigoli“). The collection also includes liturgical furnishings, reliquaries, among which one in ebony and ivory donated by the Bonaparte family in the 18th century