The San Nicola Church is an ancient church in the Via Santa Maria in Pisa. The church is close to the Museo di Palazzo Reale, on the north side of the river Arno. Highlights are the slanting bell tower and a wooden “Madonna and Child” by Nicolo Pisani.
San Nicola Church Pisa
Address, opening times and entrance fee
Address: Via Santa Maria, 2 – Pisa. Telephone: Not known. Opening Hours: 09.00 to 12.30 and 17.00 to 19.00. Entrance fee: Free of charge. (NB: Due to the Covid crisis, opening hours may differ from the ones indicated.)
History and description
Very little remains of the original 8th century Romanesque Church of San Nicola. After the church had come into the hands of the Augustinian Order, its aspect changed completely between the 14th and 17th centuries.
The most striking element of the church is the beautiful bell tower. The lower part of the tower is round, the middle octagonal and the cell in which the bells are kept is hexagonal. According to good Pisan custom the tower has a slight slant. The entrance to the tower is in the sacristy.
The church is thought to have been designed by either Nicola Pisani or Diotisalvi.
According to Pietro Armienti, a professor at the University of Pisa, the symbols making up the design of the lunetta crowning the portal are a reference to the mathematical sequence known as the Fibonacci numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55…, whereby each number is the sum of the two numbers preceding it.
At the entrance of the church, which is dedicated to Nicholas of Tolentino, stands a large crucifix.
There are side chapels on both sides. The fourth chapel on the left is one of the highlights, thanks to a wooden “Madonna and Child” sculpted by Nicola Pisani.
Giovanni Pisani was responsible for the wooden crucifix at the altar to the left of the main altar.
The fourth chapel on the right is graced by an icon created by an unknown artist. The icon depicts the saint to whom the church is dedicated. There is also a painting entitled “San Nicola saves Pisa from the Plague”.