The Church of Santa Maria at Panzano in ChiantiHistory, art and architecture of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta in Panzano Church of Santa Maria Assunta at Panzano in Chianti History of the Church of Santa Maria at Panzano The previous church of S. Maria in Panzano dated from the Renaissance period. It had a [...]
The castle of Panzano is located on the highest and oldest part of Panzano. Panzano was a settlement of Roman origin that developed during the Dark Ages and is mentioned in several documents from the 11 C onwards. Panzano was a fief of the powerful Firidolfi family and for centuries the main centre of the Val di Greve League. Consequently it was also the most fortified centre and this is confirmed by the remarkable remains of the castle that was constructed, probably later than those of Montegrossi and Brolio, by the Ricasoli-Firidolfi family, around the feudal keep.
The current Oratory dates back to no earlier than 1441, when Pope Eugene IV was in Florence. A special indulgence was issued to anyone who had made a donation for the construction of the oratory. The oratory was surely reconstructed at that time because in the oratory as it is now, under the porch, there are the remains of filaretto in the initial part of the right wall, remains that belong to a building of a more modest size, perhaps the building mentioned in the document of the 12 C.
The earliest surviving documentation of Pieve di San Leolino at Panzano dates from 982, under the name San Leolino a Flacciano, in a parchment held at the Abbey of Passignano, although two sculptural fragments preserved inside church suggest that it might have an even older origin. Structural and stylistic characteristics suggest that the Pieve di San Leolino dates back to the 12 C.
The first evidence of the name Panzano dates from 1103 when it is referenced in a document held at the Badia a Passignano, as plebe Sancti Leolini sitam in Panzano and in another document of 1146 that refers to burgus de castro de Panzano, while in the 13 C, the church of Santa Maria located in the castle is mentioned. The castle of Panzano, strategically located to control the only all-weather road between Florence and Sienna, almost certainly pre-dates the 12 C when it was documented as among the possessions of the Firidolfi family.
Montefioralle, often referred to locally at “il castello di Montefioralle”, is a tiny and very charming walled village located about 1.5 km uphill from Greve in Chianti and 7 -8 km from Panzano. It takes roughly 15 minutes to drive to Montefioralle from Panzano, along one of two routes. Along the main road to Florence, the Chiantigiana (SR222), you drive through Greve and turn left at the second traffic light, and then drive uphill for 1.5 km.