San Piero a Grado

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Some ten km north of Livorno, between Pisa and Marina di Pisa, lies this Romanesque basilica. The magnificent San Piero a Grado.

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It was built in the 10th century on the grounds of at least one earlier church, and before that a Roman structure. The previous buildings are visible both in the exterior and internally.

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Like here, where 8th century carved marble blocks have been integrated in the facade.

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The interior of the basilica has the classic three naves but is unusual in the rest of the layout. To the west, the main altar and three apses.

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And to the east, one single apse. Here you can also see remains of the older church, and some Roman walls.

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The columns are all different, with indivual capitals of various origins: Ionic, Corinthian, Syriac and some Medieval.

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The north and south walls are decorated with frescoes, dating from around year 1300 and painted by a Luccan artist.

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The frescoes depict the lives of saints Peter and Paul.

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According to tradition, this was the spot where St Peter landed on his journey from Antioch to Rome in 42 AD and in which he built the first altar on Italian soil.

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Nowadays San Piero is 6 km inland, although near river Arno. But in Roman times this was a port, in fact, it was a port already used by the Etruscans.

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Such splendid architecture and such rich history, tucked away in the Pisan countryside! A true window to the past.

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2 comments on “San Piero a Grado

  1. berörd says:

    Otroligt betagande, man blir andlös.
    Tänk att få fira mässan där!

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