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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.

  • THE SANCTUARY OF THE PIETRINA - Montaione, Italy

    The Sanctuary of the Pietrina is located at the southern end of the Benestare Park, established by the municipalities of Montaione and Gambassi Terme to indicate the environmental beauty of the area. It stands on Poggio Spadone, one of the oldest and most mineralised Palaeozoic formations in Tuscany. To reach the sanctuary, it is necessary to climb a steep road leading to Palagio and then to the remains of the ancient Pietrina Castle, at the foot of which lies a permanent nativity scene. To the side, stands the small church, essential in its stone construction, with a single nave and a roof with trusses. It is dedicated to Saints Agatha and Andrew, depicted in two terracotta statues inside two niches, at the side of the entrance door. The Pietrina is famous among the local worshippers for the Madonna delle Grazie, to whom they usually leave a votive offering. The picture on display is a copy of the sacred image, painted on wood in the 14th century by the Siénese painter Bartolo di Fredi, a pupil of Simone Martini; the original is preserved at the Bishop's Palace in Volterra and returns to the sanctuary every year, carried in procession, on the last Sunday of September. In 1988, the year of the restoration of the sacred building of the 'Pietrina', the chapel was declared a 'Marian Shrine', and in 2018 Pope Francis granted plenary indulgence to the faithful of this place of worship, as a sign of the great value attributed to this sanctuary for the salvation of souls. The name of Pietrina is mentioned for the first time in a document from 1118; more reliable information is found from the 14th century onwards, when the castle of Pietra was conquered by San Gimignano, and later subjugated to Florence. In 1835 it became permanently part of the municipality of Montaione. The sanctuary is guarded by a group of local volunteers. It is always open and has become a tourist destination, also because from this hilltop one of the most evocative panoramas in Tuscany can be enjoyed, overlooking the Valdera hills, all the way to the sea. Translated by @alessandrafalai

  • THE CHURCH OF SAINT REGULUS - Montaione, Italy

    THE CHURCH OF SAINT REGULUS - Montaione, Italy The church of Saint Regulus, in the main square of Montaione, traces its origins back to the 12th century. It retains very little of its original appearance, because it has undergone profound transformations over the centuries. The current Baroque style is due to the 1635 intervention, commissioned by the Montaione-born Cristoforo Del Bianco, known as Scipione Ammirato il Giovane, who is buried here. Serena stone designs the vaults of the roof, while marble altars mark out the spaces along the aisles. In 1320, under the high altar, the body of Blessed Vivaldo da San Gimignano was buried, which was only moved to the church dedicated to him - in the hamlet of San Vivaldo - in 1908, when Pope Pius X confirmed the cult of the saint. The apsis was built in 1602 while the two counterforts characterizing the façade date back to 1765. The works preserved inside, are noteworthy: on the first altar to the right, the Madonna del Consiglio by Guido di Graziano, from the second half of the 13 th century, has recently been relocated. Above the high altar, stands a valuable wooden crucifix from the 14th century instead, while the dome was frescoed by Cesare Maffei in 1854 with the Virgin in Glory between Saints Regulus and Bartholomew. Also noteworthy is the pipe organ, built by Antonio Ducci in 1840 and located on the counter façade. The baptismal font in sandstone, in neoclassical style, is enclosed in a small chapel overlooking Piazza della Repubblica, the heart of the town. Translated by @alessandrafalai

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