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Church of Santa Maria della Spina
Vacation Travel Guide

Santa Maria della Spina showing heritage architecture, a river or creek and a city

In a city of remarkable architecture, this Gothic church on the River Arno is considered to be one of Pisa’s most impressive structures despite its small size.

What Santa Maria della Spina lacks in size it surely makes up in beauty: the white, ornate facade is considered one of the most impressive in all of Europe. The church occupies a perch overlooking the river and attracts visitors for its 13th-century Gothic architecture.

Walk along the River Arno to reach the church. By day the white marble is almost luminescent beneath the warm Tuscan sun, while at night floodlights make it stand out in a different way. Visit on a evening when the river is calm to take photos of the church’s reflection on the water’s unbroken surface.

While many consider this tiny church to be waterfront, prior to 1871 it was even closer to the River Arno. As the water in the river rose it was decided that Santa Maria della Spina was in danger of being damaged and was moved to higher ground.

Spend some time inspecting the exquisite detail of the church’s exterior. On its roof sits a series of tabernacles, each containing a statue. The church’s west-facing front features three gables with stunning circular cutouts. Look for the statue of the Virgin and Child by the Pisan sculptor, Giovanni di Balduccio, which adorns the space between the gables.

Enter through the heavy wooden door to see the light flood through the rose windows, forming beautiful patterns on the floor. A tabernacle that is said to once have held a thorn from Jesus’ “crown” is located on the left wall of the nave. While the inside is much more reserved than the exterior, the breathtaking sculpture, Madonna of the Rose, set in its center is widely considered a masterpiece of its era.

The Santa Maria della Spina is located just outside Pisa’s historic center and can be reached on foot from Pisa’s Leaning Tower. A bus services the area and Pisa’s central train station is just a short walk away. The church has sporadic opening hours, which can be checked at Pisa’s tourist office. Admission is free.

Top Hotels Close to Church of Santa Maria della Spina

Grand Hotel Duomo
Grand Hotel Duomo
4 out of 5
Via Santa Maria 94, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥9,487 per night from May 16 to May 16
Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is steps from Piazza del Duomo and Orto Botanico di Pisa. Leaning Tower and Cathedral of Pisa are also within 5 minutes. ...
3.8/5Good! (986 reviews)
"I didn’t end up staying here because I tried to cancel my trip due to Covid and got no response to emails or phone calls. It’s a shame because I rebooked my trip for next year and after this hotel not responding to me, doesn’t look like I’ll be taking my business to them next year."

Reviewed on Jul 17, 2020

Grand Hotel Duomo
Hotel Bologna
Hotel Bologna
4 out of 5
Via Mazzini 57, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥7,086 per night from May 17 to May 17
Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Mezzogiorno and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within ...
4.3/5Excellent! (980 reviews)
njoyed our stay
"Hotel lovely and in a decent location. The only minor quibble is that the walls in our room seem to be a bit thin as you could hear next door quite easily."

Reviewed on Oct 5, 2020

Hotel Bologna
Hotel Astor
Hotel Astor
2 out of 5
Via A. Manzoni, 22, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥4,203 per night from May 22 to May 22
Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Mezzogiorno and University of Pisa. Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo are also within ...
3.4/5Good! (427 reviews)
"Didn’t see or speak to any staff at the hotel. Key was on the bench at reception when we arrived. Room was nice and clean. You could hear other people talking and walking down the halls. Very affordable. Good location. (:"

Reviewed on Apr 29, 2021

Hotel Astor
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Church of Santa Maria della Spina

Church of Santa Maria della Spina

Best Lodging Options Near Church of Santa Maria della Spina

Grand Hotel Duomo
Grand Hotel Duomo
4 out of 5
Via Santa Maria 94, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥9,487 per night from May 16 to May 16
Grand Hotel Duomo
Hotel Bologna
Hotel Bologna
4 out of 5
Via Mazzini 57, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥7,086 per night from May 17 to May 17
Hotel Bologna
Hotel Astor
Hotel Astor
2 out of 5
Via A. Manzoni, 22, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥4,203 per night from May 22 to May 22
Hotel Astor
Altido Nice Flat Near La Spina Church
Altido Nice Flat Near La Spina Church
Pisa, Tuscany
Altido Nice Flat Near La Spina Church
Hotel Villa Primavera
Hotel Villa Primavera
2 out of 5
Via Bonanno Pisano 43, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥5,410 per night from May 12 to May 12
Hotel Villa Primavera
Hotel Pisa Tower
Hotel Pisa Tower
3 out of 5
via Andrea Pisano 23, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥6,724 per night from May 28 to May 28
Hotel Pisa Tower
Time Out
Time Out
Via Santa Maria, 50, Pisa
The price is ¥3,603 per night from May 12 to May 12
Time Out
Hotel La Pace
Hotel La Pace
3 out of 5
Viale Gramsci 14 - Galleria B, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥7,206 per night from May 16 to May 16
Hotel La Pace
Hotel Relais Dell Orologio
Hotel Relais Dell Orologio
4 out of 5
Via Uguccione della Faggiola 12-14, Pisa, PI
The price is ¥14,291 per night from May 13 to May 13
Hotel Relais Dell Orologio
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.