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chiesa san godenzo

Benedictine Abbey of San Gaudenzio
In the heart of the town, we find this splendid Abbey dedicated to San Gaudenzio: it was built in 1028 by request of the bishop of Fiesole, Jacopo il Bavaro. In 1070, bishop Trasmondo, who promoted new works of embellishment, consecrated the new church and granted it to the Benedictines. On June 8, 1302 the Abbey was the scene of the famous convention that would be remembered in history books as an important event in Italian literature: the meeting of the Florentine exiles, the Ghibellines and the White Guelphs; Dante Alighieri was among them. The objective of the convention was to come to an agreement with the Ubaldini and, thus, return to Florence, which was then under the domination of the Black Guelphs. The convention was not successful: shortly afterwards there would be a violent struggle between the White Guelphs and the Black Guelphs, and the latter would be the winners; Dante would, therefore, decide to leave his malvagia e scempia compagnia of Florentines (his bad and foolish companions as Dante states in the Divine Comedy, Paradise, Canto XVII). In 1482, the church became a part of SS. Annunziata of Florence, and the Servite Order was formed, and a prior put at its head. The Servite Order stayed in San Godenzo until 1808 when the order was suppressed by the French. Today the church, after having obtained the title of Abbey again in 1922, is under the Bishopric of Fiesole. The Abbey is one of the most important Romanesque structures in Tuscany. A long stair leads up to the church with its beautifully unadorned stone façade. The interior is vast and solemn: it has a central nave, two side aisles behind quadrangular pillars, and a raised presbytery with three apses.
The works of art are very precious: the wooden sculpture of San Sebastiano by Baccio da Montelupo, the polyptych by Bernardo Daddi dated 1333, the Virgin of the Annunciation by the school of Andrea del Sarto (16th century), the Madonna with Child and the Saints (unknown artist, 16th century), St. Anthony the Abbot, and St. Francis receiving the stigmata (unknown artist, 16th century), and St. Louis (also unknown artist, 16th century). Of great interest is the 15th century pulpit. In the 20th century, the Abbey was enriched with many works of art: the great mosaic on the subject of Dante on the roof of the apse, the pipe organ, the baptismal font, and the bell-tower. The abbey is open and can be visited every day.

Pieve di San Babila a San Bavello
The church of San Bavello is almost the same age as the San Godenzo Abbey. Records mentioning the church date back to 1073, and legend has it that Countess Matilda commissioned it. During the restoration of 1898, once the plaster was removed, parts of a fresco were uncovered. The last restoration dates back to 1920 and was carried out by the architect Cerpi: the restoration was necessary given the damage caused by the earthquake of 1919.
The size of the church was maintained during the restoration but the three nave structure became, once again, a structure with a central nave only. The Pieve can be visited upon request (tel. Don Bruno at 333 407168).

San Martino a Castagno D'Andrea
The ancient church is in what is known as “San Martino”; in 1840 it was transferred to the place in which it is now and, hence, destroyed during WWII. It was faithfully reconstructed in 1947. In 1957, on occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of the artist Andrea del Castagno, the painter Pietro Arrigoni presented the church with his famous frescoes of the Crucifix, of the Madonna, and of Saint John (realized between 1957 and 1968). It was on this occasion that the town of Castagno was renamed “Castagno D'Andrea”. The church has a central nave, two side altars, 17th century furnishings, and a canvas portraying “Ecce Homo”. The church is open and can be visited every day.

San Niccolò a Casale
In a document dated 1028 we find mention of the locality called “Casale” but nothing about the church which, however, was surely built only a few years later on the ruins of a small castle owned by Guido da Battifolle. The church has a simple, gabled façade and a single nave with an apse. The Romanesque style is made explicit and evident by the use of the beautiful dressed sandstone. Conserved inside are sacred objects of a certain artistic prestige.
The Pieve can be visited upon request (tel. Don Bruno at 333 407168).

 

 

 

 

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