Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
Church in Pisa
The Church of Santo Stefano, much like the surrounding palaces in Piazza dei Cavalieri, bears the unmistakable touch of Vasari’s design. Originally constructed between 1565 and 1569, the church received a magnificent marble facade between 1594 and 1606, envisioned by Giovanni de’ Medici.
The two side wings, dating from the 17th century, initially served as changing rooms for the knights of the Order of St. Stephen. These knights would don their ceremonial attire before attending services. Over time, these rooms were integrated into the church as aisles. However, due to their connection with the nave through only two doorways on each side, the interior gives the impression of an aisleless church.
Inside, the coffered ceiling panels are adorned with paintings that narrate the history of the Order of St. Stephen, which had the crucial responsibility of defending the city against enemy raids. The walls display trophies and captured enemy flags, serving as reminders of Pisa’s Turkish wars. Be sure to marvel at the opulently decorated high altar, crafted in 1709, featuring the throne of Pope Stephen I, who was martyred between 254 and 257. Additionally, don’t miss the impressive Baroque organ, adding to the church’s artistic grandeur. The Church of Santo Stefano is an architectural gem steeped in history, offering a glimpse into Pisa’s past and a treasure trove of artistic wonders to explore.
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Visiting Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, closed; Tuesday and Thursday, from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm; Saturday, from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm.