The Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri Kerk is located in the Piazza dei Cavalieri in Pisa and is the church of the order of the same name. This 16th century church was designed by Vasari and is decorated with works of art by the most famous artists associated with the Medici. An unusual attraction is formed by parts of defeated Turkish ships.
Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri Church Pisa
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Piazza dei Cavalieri, Pisa. During the Corona crisis it is not possible to visit the church.
History and description
The Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri is dedicated to Pope Stephen I, who was stoned to death and then beheaded by the Praetorians under the reign of Emperor Valerian in the year 257.
Construction began in 1565.
The exterior of the church gives an elegant and at the same time sober impression. The only decoration is the gigantic coat of arms of the order. The façade was designed by Don Giovanni de’ Medici.
The beautiful inlaid wooden ceiling was added in 1606 and depicts some of the heroic deeds performed by Knights of the Order.
The two naves were added in 1682 and were originally used as a dressing room for the knights. The large and sumptuous interior has only one nave and is richly decorated with works of art. There are also ship’s pennants and other ornaments referring to the sea.
One of the banners is the Turkish flag, which was captured by the Holy League during the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. The flag decorated the main mast of the ship of the admiral of the Turkish fleet, Mehmet Ali Pasha.
What to see
Saint Stephen‘s relics are kept in an urn below the main altar. The altar itself was designed by Pier Francesco Silvani and Foggini.
The polychrome marble pulpit on the left used to stand in the cathedral and was made in the 17th century by Chiarissimo Fancelli.
The “Madonna and Child between Saint Joseph and Stephen” was created by Aurelio Lomi in 1593. It was originally intended for the Palazzo dell’Ordine dei Cavalieri.
Giorgio Vasari painted the “Stoning of St. Stephen” in the right nave.
The “Birth of Jesus” above the second altar in the left nave is the work Bronzino.