Read, Write, Run, Roam

Church on Sunday: St. Mary of the Assumption, Pisa, Italy


Before our visit, I had only known Pisa as host to a leaning tower. Under-researching a trip is bad form for RHOB, but at least it led to my great surprise-and awe-at the Duomo of St. Mary of the Assumption, or Santa Maria Assunta. Doesn’t everything sound nicer in Italian?

Construction of the Duomo began in 1064, and it was consecrated in 1118. After a devastating fire in 1595, the Duomo was renovated with a gilded coffer ceiling, new doors, and restored paintings. Fortunately, the fire did not destroy the mosiac apse completed in 1302.

The fire also spared my favorite item in the Duomo, Giovanni Pisano’s pulpit circa 1302.

 

 

 

 

 

I liked how the pulpit’s delicate carving contrasted with the heavy imagery and darker colors throughout the church. But RHOB’s opinion would have been the minority in the late 16th Century. After the 1595 fire and during the subsequent renovation, the pulpit was placed in storage and “forgotten” until its rediscovery and reassembly in 1926. Makes you wonder what else is lurking in Italian church cellars…

A place this big, they could be hiding firetrucks in the basement.

I’d post more photos, but I don’t think it would convey the proper grandeur. The Duomo is one of the most impressive churches I’ve seen since starting this blog, and I’m a little embarrassed that I basically stumbled upon it because I wanted a funny picture featuring my dog. I guess God really does work in mysterious ways…

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