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Church of Saints Joseph and Lucy - Montaione

The building that now hosts the offices of the Municipality of Montaione dates back to the mid-16th century.

It was built by order of the bishop of Volterra and was a monastery inhabited by Benedictine nuns; in the 17th century it became a female music academy.

Attached to the main body, we still find the Church of Saints Joseph and Lucy, a small place of worship that is part of the history and memory of the town.

The church has been restored several times by the municipality, which became the owner of the entire complex in the second half of the 19th century.

The small church is characterised by the women's gallery, which, looking out from the top of the back wall towards the interior, allowed the nuns to attend Mass without leaving the convent.

The gabled roof and the single nave are the outstanding architectural elements, together with the niche housing the altar.

The geometrical patterned of the granite floor gives depth to the room.

Enclosed in a marble frame above the altar, on the right, is the most important of the furnishings: the Madonna of the Rosary, a painting by Plautilla Nelli, the first Florentine paintress whose works are preserved.

Born Pulisena Margherita Nelli in 1525, she lived until the age of 63 in the Dominican convent of St. Catherine of Siena, in Florence, where she took her vows at the age of fourteen under the name of Sister Plautilla.

She learned the painting techniques of the time from Fra Bartolomeo, of the nearby convent of San Marco, where one of her most significant works can be found: the “Lamentation over the Dead Christ” to paint which she employed the body of a dead sister as a model.

Also the Last Supper inspired by that of Leonado, and preserved in Santa Maria Novella is her's.

The Madonna of the Rosary that can be visited in Montaione is therefore part of the considerable pictorial production of Sister Plautilla, narrated in flattering terms also by Giorgio Vasari in "The Lives" of the Artists.

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