Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Cathedral in Pisa

Cathedral Of Santa Maria Assunta Pisa
Pixabay / KarinKarin

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta stands as the quintessential representation of the Pisan architectural style. This splendid Romanesque basilica, crafted from white marble, was designed by the Pisan architect Buscheto. Construction commenced in 1063 following Pisa’s naval triumph over the Saracens, and though it remained unfinished, it was consecrated in 1118. Subsequently, during the late 11th century, a new west front was added, and the main apse was completed.

The fa├žade of the cathedral is adorned with ornate arcading, which gracefully extends along the side walls, and the transepts culminate in small apses projecting beyond the aisles. Inside, an elegantly proportioned oval dome takes centre stage. Notably, the apse boasts a remarkable 13th to 14th-century mosaic portraying Christ seated between the Virgin and John the Evangelist, masterfully created by Cimabue. Additionally, one should not miss the bronze doors of the Porta di San Ranieri, featuring captivating scenes from the lives of the Virgin and Christ.

A true artistic marvel within the cathedral is the pulpit crafted by Giovanni Pisano, bearing similarities to the one found in the Church of Sant’Andrea in Pistoia. Fashioned between 1302 and 1311, Giovanni Pisano’s creation showcases a vigorous style and rounded forms, departing from the more austere approach of his father, Nicola, whose angular pulpit graces the baptistery.

The pulpit stands on columns, with shorter ones supported by lions, and features figures of the Archangel Michael, Hercules, and Christ, surrounded by the Four Evangelists at its base. Relief panels adorning the pulpit depict scenes from the New Testament, adding to its artistic splendour.


The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Pisa!

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Visiting Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Address: Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Piazza San Giovanni, Volterra, Pisa, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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