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Church of Sant'Andrea

Chiesa di Sant'Andrea-photo: www.comune.pistoia.itThis church is certainly of ancient origin; in fact many clues tell us that the foundation must date back to the period of Lombard rule.

Although it has sometimes been identified as the paleo-Christian cathedral because of the orientation of its apse, the Church of Sant'Andrea probably dates back to the seventh century. It was renovated into its present form around the mid twelfth century.

The building's distinguishing characteristics can be seen firstly on the front where the polychrome inlays present three doorways of which the middle one has an architrave with carved scenes. This was sculpted by Gruamonte after the mid twelfth century and portrays the Journey of the Magi; this unusual iconographic choice suggests a particular relationship between this church and that urban part of the via Franchigena along which it had been built. Stylistically both Gruamonte and Enrico (the master who signed the two capitals that support the architrave) belonged to the stylistic movement, headed by Guglielmo, that had developed around the cathedral of Pisa.

The church's interior, divided into three naves with columns and a semi-circular apse, can be fully ascribed to the general renewal that involved the major Pistoian churches in the mid twelfth century. Its appearance today was uncovered by a series of restorations, particularly by the most recent ones which tore out much of the work that had been added over the centuries; today we see a building which is certainly austere and suggestive but different from the original.

The richness of its colors can still be seen in some of the few remaining frescos. The church houses great works of art that make it one of the most interesting places in the region. Among these there are the Pulpit sculpted by Giovanni Pisano at the end of the thirteenth century and the wooden Crucifix, on the first altar on the left wall, that Giovanni carved for the Church of Santa Maria Ripalta.

The enclosure of the presbytery whose panels were sculpted in Romanesque times, was thus described in the local guidebooks of the last century: around the presbytery there are rosone-shaped marble panels with decorations in low relief.

The high altar, commissioned by the Pappagalli family in the late eighteenth century has been substituted by an altar obtained by reworking a thirteenth century tombstone that had been uncovered during excavations near Pistoia.

In a Renaissance tabernacle on the right hand wall Is another wooden Crucifix attributed to Giovanni Pisano while the round wall of the apse is decorated with an impressive depiction of the Blessing of God the Father painted in 1506 by the Pistoian artist Bernardino del Signoraccio.

Via Sant'Andrea - Pistoia

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Tel: +39 057321912

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Comune di Pistoia
Via Sant'Andrea, 5110 Pistoia (PT)
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