Church of Santa Maria della Spina Virutal Tour

The church of Santa Maria della Spina is a jewel of the Italian Gothic architecture. The name, given to the church in 1333 instead of the original Santa Maria di Pontenovo, derives from a thorn of Christ's crown that a Pisan merchant put inside the church when he returned from the Holy Land. Today the church stands on the Lungarno Gambacorti (left side), but was built (in 1230) on the Arno's right bank. In the XIX century, it was dismantled and transferred to avoid it being damaged by the frequent river floods and it was also decided to substitute the original statues with copies.

The facade of Saint Mary is divided into two symmetrical parts with two portals surmounted by two arches and two gables. In the middle, there is a tabernacle with a copy of the “Madonna con Bambino” by Giovanni Pisano while the original work is exposed inside the San Matteo Museum. The roofing, according to the Gothic architecture, has many spires, pinnacles and statues that decorate the high pyramidal steeples and characterize the upper part enriched with two rose-windows and marble inlays.

If compared to decorative richness and the refinement of the exterior, the interior appears very simple. It has a single rectangular room, with a ceiling painted during the 19th century reconstruction. In the presbytery's centre is one of the highest masterpieces of Gothic sculpture, the Madonna della Rosa by Andrea and Nino Pisano. On the left there is the tabernacle in which once was the crown's thorn, by Stagio Stagi (1534). Another statue by the Pisanos, the Madonna del Latte, was once here, but has been moved to the city's San Matteo Museum.

Pisa 360°: Panoramas of the Church of Santa Maria della Spina


main facade of the church della spina pisa

Main Facade of the little gothic Church situated along the Lungarno Gambacorti

The Church “della Spina” is a small gothic church on Lungarno Gambacorti in Pisa. It has a rectangular plan and is fully covered with polychrome marble. The exterior is characterized by spires, pinnacles, tabernacles and rose windows. On the facade there are two portals surmounted by arches with double lintels and divided by a pilaster that supports a tabernacle with the statue of the Madonna and Child attributed to Giovanni Pisano, between two Angels.

vista diurna da ponte solferino

The little gothic Church from the Solferino Bridge on the Arno River

Solferino Bridge has a long history of construction and reconstruction. The current position allows a splendid view of the river and of the Church of Santa Maria della Spina. The Church, made of white marble, has charming spires and high niches with beautiful statues. The church gets its name from a relic that was once housed there, a thorn from Christ's crown.

prospetto posteriore della chiesetta della spina

Rear View and Arno River

The back of the church, divided in three parts by lancet arches, has simple mullioned windows crowned by tympanums on which are the symbols of the Evangelists; these are alternated by niches with Saints Peter, Paul and John the Baptist. The high pyramid-shaped spires end with the statues of the Madonna and Child between two angels by Nino Pisano.

centro dell'aula della spina

The nave during an exhibition

Opposite the facade is a marble altar, with a niche and small pilasters decorated by putti faces, carried out by Girolamo da Carrara in 1524. It once held the Madonna del Latte carried out by Andrea and Nino Pisano (1345-1348) and today exhibited in the Museum of San Matteo. The recent restorations have brought to new life this famous gem of Gothic Art.

interno della spina nella zona dell'altare

Interior view near the Altar

The church has a single nave, with a trussed ceiling, painted during the 19th-century restoration; the raised presbytery is separated by two pilasters with archivolt and houses at the centre one of the greatest masterpieces of Gothic sculpture, the Madonna and Child, known to the believers as Madonna of the Rose, sculptured by Andrea and Nino Pisano between 1345 and 1348.

prospetto principale della spina di notte

Main Facade of the small Gothic church of Saint Mary by Night

If during the day a beautiful blue sky backdrop to the Church by providing a continuous play of peaks and pinnacles illuminated by the rays of sun, at night the atmosphere is unreal. Invisible spotlights, keeping intact the spectacle of the spires, make the church so bright as to give the impression that shines in its own light.

vista notturna dal ponte solferino

The Church of the “Thorn” from Solferino Bridge by night

The Lungarno are wide streets that follow the river; they are characterized by old and prestigious buildings and by the “spallette” mighty walls of stone and brick built to prevent the flooding of the Arno.

360° Panoramas by Simona Bartolomei


panoramic virtual brochure of the church of santa maria

Santa Maria della Spina • Pisa

360° VR Panoramic Virtual Brochure


santa maria della spina minisite

Santa Maria della Spina • Pisa

Flash Minisite of the gothic Church


spina on  google map in pisa

Santa Maria della Spina on Google Maps

360° VR Panoramas of Pisa • Tuscany


interno della spina

The nave during an exhibition

Santa Maria della Spina • Pisa • Tuscany


vista notturna dal ponte solferino

Lungarno from Solferino Bridge by night

Santa Maria della Spina • Pisa • Tuscany

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