/ / The Church of Santa Maria della spina: photo, description Santa Maria della Spina)

The Church of Santa Maria della spina: photo, description Santa Maria della Spina)

Santa Maria della spina is a small Gothic Church in Pisa, built in the first half of the 13th century. It was originally called Santa Maria di Pontenovo, and its modern name - "spina" in Italian means "thorn" comes from the thorn, which, according to legend, was part of the crown of Thorns, clothed in Christ crucified, and which was kept here in the 14th century. In 1871 the Church was demolished and rebuilt at a higher level, as in the case of the spill of the Arno river it would be in the flood zone. Unfortunately, in the course of restructuring the appearance of the Church was partially changed.

Today, Santa Maria della spina is one of the most remarkable Gothic churches of Europe. It has a rectangular shape in plan, and its exterior finish is made entirely of white marble. The building is notable for its triangular ridges, pediment and Shrine, and sculptural decoration, wooden mosaic, window-rosette and numerous statues of work of the main artists of Pisa of the 14th century. Among those who worked on the design of the Church, can be identified, Lupo di Francesco, Andrea Pisano with his sons Nino and Tommaso, and Giovanni di Balduccio.

The facade of Santa Maria della spina has two arched portal tabernacles virtually with statues of the Madonna and child and two angels, attributed to Giovanni Pisano. In the upper part of the facade you can see two niches in which are located the statue of Christ and the angels. Right side decorated by thirteen statues of the Apostles and Jesus Christ. A small sculpture depicting saints and angels, on the tympanum was done by Nino Pisano. On the back wall of the Church you can see three circular arches with simple Windows, Gables are decorated with symbols of the Evangelists alternating with niches in which are placed statues of saints Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist.

In comparison with the richly decorated façade, the interior of the Church seems to be very modest. It consists of a single room, the ceiling of which was painted during the renovation in the 19th century. In the centre of the presbytery is one of the main masterpieces of Gothic sculpture, the Madonna of the Roses of Andrea and Nino Pisano. Similarly, the left wall are the very tabernacle, where, according to legend kept a thorn from the crown of Thorns of Christ.