In Castelfiorentino, as in most Italian cities you will find many churches, most of the works of art that you can admire in our area were commissioned exactly to embellish and adorn many of the churches, family chapels and places of worship in the city.
Santuario di Santa Verdiana
The Santuario di Santa Verdiana, the patron saint of Castelfiorentino, is the fulcrum of an area of great historical interest and represents a precious and unitary example of Florentine Baroque architecture and decoration. In fact, on the facade designed by Architect Bernardo Fallani there are some statues by Ignazio Miert. The interior designed by Giovan Battista Foggini presents a basilical plan and three naves divided by pillars: in the central barrel vault there are frescoes by Alessandro Gherardini and in the dome of the tribune paintings by Matteo Bonechi.
The small domes in the minor naves were frescoed in 1716 by Agostino Veracini, together with other painters, with “Stories of Saint Verdiana“. From the middle aisle one descends to an underground cell where, according to tradition, Saint Verdiana spent thirty-four years in retreat. Worthy of note is a beautiful painting by Jacopo Chimenti, known as l’Empoli, on which Alessandro Gherardini later worked, with “The Virgin Assumed between Saints Anthony Abbot and Verdiana“, dated 1600. The canvas “The blessing of Saint Verdiana” is by Giovan Battista Guidoni. The Saint’s funeral rites are also kept inside the sanctuary.
Pieve dei Santi Ippolito e Biagio
Located at the top of the hill, inside the city walls, surrounded by the new park named after Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli.
Once dedicated only to Saint Biagio, it has inherited all the rights that once belonged to the more ancient Parish Church of Saint Hippolytus a Elsa (the Pieve Vecchia) located between the villages of Il Vallone and Renai. The Parish Church has a single nave with an apse and a wooden roof. For its decorative solutions, the church is one of the most interesting terracotta buildings in Valdelsa.
In the apse there is a wooden crucifix of the XIV century and in the niche of the baptismal font there are some frescos reproducing Saint Hippolytus of 1428 and Saint Peter Martyr of 1429.
Chiesa di San Francesco
In the area near the Sanctuary of Saint Verdiana, it is possible to visit the Chiesa di San Francesco, where it is possible to admire some frescoes by Giovanni Del Biondo, the 18th century cycle by Agostino Veracini and Pietro Anderlini. Although the overall spatial conception is that of the Gothic language, the building still presents Valdelsa Romanesque elements. These are structural reasons, such as the use of bricks, and formal ones, such as the small cruciform window, the portal which stands out from the façade and the decorated arches. The exterior of the apsidal area presents more Gothic influences. Also on the facade we can admire numerous coats of arms in majolica or in pietra serena of some personalities who were buried inside the church and belonged to the most important families of Castelfiorentino such as the Attavanti, the Becci, the Benvenuti, the Alberini.
Collegiata dei Santi Lorenzo e Leonardo
In the high historical center, there are the oldest churches, including the Collegiata dei Santi Lorenzo e Leonardo, one of the oldest buildings made of terracotta in Valdelsa. The facade shows a gabled structure, framed by strong pilasters and with a mullioned window above the portal. The interior, completely remodeled in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, contains a series of eight ovals with “Stories of Saint Verdiana“ by Giovan Camillo Sagrestani, placed on the side altars in 1711. On the main altar there is the wooden Crucifix, a work of the fourteenth century by Giovanni Pisano. In the apse there are paintings by Annibale Gatti. From this church comes the symbolic work of the Museum of Sacred Art of Santa Verdiana: the panel with the “Madonna and Child“, datable to 1283-1284 circa, attributed to Cimabue with the possible collaboration of a young Giotto.
Pieve dei Santi Pietro e Paolo in Coiano
This beautiful Romanesque building is located on one of the routes of the Via Francigena, which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigeric, travelled between 990 and 994. The Parish Church represented for the English archbishop, the twenty-first stage (Mansio) of his itinerary from Rome to England and the place was called by him Sce Peter Currant. The Pieve dei Santi Pietro e Paolo in Coiano represents a typical example of the Pisan-Volterra Romanesque style with a basilical plant with columns.
Monastero and Chiesa di Santa Maria della Marca
On the opposite bank of the Elsa river, the Monastery of Santa Maria della Marca owes its origins to the visit that Saint Francis made to Castelfiorentino in 1210. Inside the monastic complex there is the Church of Santa Chiara, where you can see a part of a cycle of frescoes probably attributed to Niccolò di Pietro Gerini representing “The Last Supper” and subjected to meticulous restoration.
Another painting present in the church and conserved in the adjacent monastery is the panel “Madonna enthroned with Saint Peter and Saint Lucy, Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Catherine of Alexandria” executed towards the end of the 15th century in a Sienese environment. From the essays carried out, it has been deduced that under the present plaster there are also various frescoes dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Inside the new church there is a cross painted by Lippo di Benivieni.
The most famous are certainly the “Pieve Vecchia” or the Pieve di Sant’Ippolito a Elsa, on the road that leads to the locality Renai, of which the first documentary evidence dates back to November 1036, and the two main churches in Castelnuovo d’Elsa: the Chiesa dei Santi Barbara e Lorenzo where there are a cycle of frescoes by Paolo Schiavo, and the Chiesa e Canonica di Santa Maria Assunta where is kept “The Annunciation” by the painter Neri di Bicci. Other noteworthy churches are the Chiesa di San Prospero in Cambiano, the Chiesa di San Donato on the road that leads to Cambiano, the Chiesa di Santa Maria a Lungotuono in Dogana where there is a painting by Cosimo Rosselli (always in Dogana there is a country church called “Il Campanuzzo“), the Parrocchia di Santa Maria Assunta in Petrazzi, the Chiesa di San Pietro a Pisangoli in the homonymous area, the Chiesa dell’Annunciazione near the Hospital, which has a mosaic by Bruna Scali on the facade, the Chiesa di San Bartolomeo in the locality of Sala, the Chiesa di San Matteo in the locality of Granaiolo, the Chiesa di San Martino in Via Bernardino Ciurini, the small Chiesa di San Filippo in the historical center and the privately owned Chiesa di San Michele in the locality of Vallecchio.
In addition to the various churches there are some Oratories such as the one of San Carlo Borromeo, where on the Baroque altar there is a canvas by Francesco Boldrini from 1618 depicting the “Madonna in glory with the Saints“, now used as an exhibition space since it is deconsecrated, the Oratorio di Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Oratorio della Santa Croce in the historical center and the Oratorio di Sant’Antonio which is located in the homonymous street. Among these, the Oratorio della Madonna della Tosse and the Tabernacolo della Visitazione are also noteworthy. In both of them there were frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, now kept at the Be.Go Museum. In Meleto there is the Cappella di Sant’Ippolito, an octagonal building. In Castelnuovo d’Elsa there are the Spedale di San Jacopo, the Cappella di San Rocco and the Cappella di San Giuseppe, while in the municipal cemetery there is the Cappella Brandini, privately owned, recently restored and completely frescoed by Galileo Chini.