European Vacation – September 15/16/17 and 18/19 – Pisa, Italy (Part 7) – Santa Maria della Spina – Small but Mighty

As we got our bearings with a walk along the Arno in Pisa, we saw a tiny ornate Gothic building on the opposite bank. It piqued our interest and in due course, we found ourselves on a collision course with this building, as it was located on the sidewalk.

Santa Maria della Spina church was built in the Pisan Gothic style around 1230 and enlarged after 1325. It was originally know as Santa Maria di Pontenovo, named after a nearby bridge, which collapsed in the 15th century and was never rebuilt.

The current name is derived from a relic (a thorn or “spina”, purportedly from the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, during his crucifixion) brought to the church in 1333. The thorn is now housed in Chiesa di Santa Chiara.

In the 1871, the church was dismantled and moved to higher ground, to save it from possible flood damage from the nearby Arno River. During the move, its appearance was altered, causing local outrage .


The church is seldom used now and the interior is empty. Doors are intermittently opened for short periods during the week. It was closed when we visited and we never did get back to look inside.

Small but Mighty

Defying the odds

della Spina carries on,

as Arno flows by.

13 thoughts on “European Vacation – September 15/16/17 and 18/19 – Pisa, Italy (Part 7) – Santa Maria della Spina – Small but Mighty

    1. When I see things like this, I always wonder, how did they do that so many years ago, before the advent of computers, lasers, etc. The answer always comes back…with hard work, skill and dedication. Thanks for reading Werner. Enjoy the weekend. Allan

      Liked by 2 people

    1. You are quite right. It seems, even though our history is short, we place no value on buildings from the past until it is too late. During the 70s boom, a lot of great old buildings were torn down to make way for development. Once the new buildings went up, a plaque was placed on the new building showing what used to be there. Yay? Thankfully, things have gotten a bit better now and the buildings or facades are now incorporated into the new buildings. Thanks for reading and commenting Bernie. Go Riders. Allan


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