The name of the church derives from the Discalced Benedictine monks known as Pulsanesi (from the name of their place of origin, Mount Pulsano in Apulia), who founded the church and the adjoining monastery in the 11th century.
The Church of San Michele degli Scalzi then passed to the Olivetan Benedictines, who owned it until 1784. The façade has the architectural features and geometric motifs that characterize Pisan churches. Its lower and upper portions are faced with stone and bricks respectively. The three portals correspond to the nave and side aisles. Behind the church is a thick Lombard Romanesque bell tower measuring 23 metres in height and decorated with ceramic basins. Subsidence has caused the campanile to lean visibly towards the River Arno.
Restoration work was carried out in 1970 to remedy the damage caused by bombing and a flood. The small, narrow windows of the nave and the bare aisles lend the building an austere appearance. Behind the high altar is a painted wooden crucifix dating from the 13th century, attributed to the school of Giunta Pisano. The square in front of the church is the venue for the traditional Fête of St. Ubald.