Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, Pisa

The church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno (also known as "The Old Cathedral") was founded around 952. It was used by the Vallombrosani monks. It was enlarged in the mid-12th century along lines similar to those of the Cathedral.

For the pale grey marble decoration ancient Roman marbles were used. The façade was completed in the 14th century by Giovanni Pisano. It houses frescoes by Buonamico Buffalmacco (active c. 1315–1336 assumed to be the painter of The Triumph of Death, a fresco cycle in the Camposanto in Pisa) and Turino Vanni (14th century). There is a "Crucifix" on wood from the XIII century.

An aisled basilica, the church contains the tomb of the 12th century scholar and Burgundio, with a reused Roman sarcophagus. There is another Roman sarcophagus built into the wall above the doorway in the left transept.

Annexed to it is the Romanesque Chapel of St. Agatha, an octagonal-plan, brick construction of the 11th century, with an unusual pyramidal cusp or peak. The chapel was built around 1063 by the monks of the church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno to which it was linked by medieval buildings demolished after the Second World War. Inside are kept the remains of mural decorations from the XII century.