One of the popular religious sights of Altopascio is the Chiesa di San Jacopo Maggiore, also known as the Chiesa dei Santi Jacopo, Cristoforo ed Eligio. The church is also called the Church of the Knights of Tau and dates to the 12th century; it was built in Romanesque style, though it has many elements of Spanish architecture, as well as Arab-Muslim architecture. Around the end of the 1820s the structure was expanded to accommodate an increasing presence of worshippers; the original structure of the church essentially became a transept of the larger Parochial Church. The main patron saint is Saint James the Greater, who is the protector of the Knights of Tau, but then two other saints were added, Saint Christopher and Saint Giles, who were all considered protectors of travelers and pilgrims.
Today, you can still see some parts of the original medieval structure of the church. There is the cloister and some areas reserved for pilgrims, part of the outer walls and the bell tower; the latter, however, was somewhat updated during renovations that took place around 1866. The entire church, indeed, was modified during renovations in the 19th century, as mentioned; besides most of the façade, though, the original apse area is conserved. The outer wall is divided into two “zones”, with the upper one being decorated with alternating areas of black and white marble; a niche in the façade is occupied by a statue of God the Father.
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