Palazzo dell’Opera is a palace located on the north-eastern area of Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa, to the east of Campo Santo and to the north of Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Until the first years of the 21st century, the palace housed the headquarters of the Opera della Primaziale Pisana, which is the entity that manages the Cathedral of Pisa and the monumental complex of Piazza dei Miracoli. Currently, it only holds some offices for the technical staff and, since 2014, it hosts temporary art exhibitions.
The main body of the building, which still maintains its original facade, dates back to 1309, while the expansions date back to the 18th century.
The building was in fact the residence of the various workers of the cathedral complex: the tailor, the gardener, the bell ringers, until the 19th century, when the administration offices of the Opera della Primaziale were brought in the palace.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade shows a Medici coat of arms and marble panels with the initials of the Opera del Duomo, as well as an 18th-century plaque commemorating the stay of Charles VIII of France in 1494, and one of 1926 recalling the visit of Benito Mussolini.
The interior has some remarkable decorations, although scattered and linked to different styles and eras. There is a rare Byzantine fresco of the Madonna and Child, painted by a Sienese painter, another by Giovan Battista Tempesti, The Coronation of Mary by Pomarancio and frescoes by Agostino Ghirlanda in the Loggetta room.
The chapel of the palace has stuccoes by Angelo Somazzi and Giuseppe Ferri, and frescoes by Ranieri Allegranti.
HOW TO GET THERE
Pisa Centrale train station is 2 kilometers away, or about 30 minutes on foot. The closest bus station is in Via Contessa Matilde 62, on the bus Lines 21 and Navetta E, about 250 meters away.