The Museums of Chianti

Pieve di San Leolino a Panzano

This splendid Romanesque country parish church is situated near the remains of Panzano castle, in the centre of the town. It houses an interesting collection of pictorial and sculptural works, including two tabernacles attributed to Giovanni della Robbia, a 13 C altarpiece attributed to Meliore, a triptych with the Madonna, the Child and four Saints by Mariotto di Nardo and the Madonna and Child with St. Peter and St. Paul by the Master of Panzano. Click the link for pictures of the Pieve di San Leolino.

San Francesco Museum, Greve in Chianti

This museum is housed in the former convent of San Francesco, up a short, steep pedestrian road from the centre of Greve in Chianti. It contains a modest collection of paintings, sculptures, vestments and sacred garments which provide evidence of the historical significance and artistic vitality of the Greve in Chianti area. One of the finest works in the collection is in its original position in the oratory on the ground floor. It is a large polychrome terracotta of the Pietà with the three Marys and Saints. This work of the Florentine School dates to the first half of the 16 C and is attributed to the workshop of Santi Buglioni. The room contains other works of interest, including: the Virgin with St. Lucia and Antony of Padua by Curradi, and the Virgin of the Rosary by Francesco Boldrini; a 14 C marble bas-relief of St. Francis and a Madonna and Child sculpture in painted stucco attributed to Nanni di Bartolo. On display in the sacristy are a number of sacred vestments (chasubles, copes, etc.); a rock crystal reliquary cross produced in the 13 -14 C; and a rare, painted-glass piece from the 16 C, a small window depicting San Silvestro the Benedictory Pope, probably executed from a design by Francesco Granacci. On the first floor, there are panels and canvases dating from the 14 C to the 19 C. These include works by Francesco Granacci and Jacopo Vignali.

The gold-work section includes sacred items from the 16 C to the 19 C, including a 16 C thurible and censer and the 17 C Reliquary of San Canziano from the Badia di Montescalari. In addition to the museum, the former convent complex also houses an archive and a room for temporary exhibitions.

Opening hours:
Winter Thu - Fri 10 am - 1 pm and Sat - Sun 3.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Summer Thu - Fri 10 am - 1 pm and Sat - Sun 4 pm - 8 pm.

Click the link for more about the Sacred Arts Museum in Greve.

Museo di Arte Sacra of Impruneta

The Impruneta Museum of Sacred Art is housed in rooms adjoining the Basilica of Santa Maria in Impruneta. It consists of three main sections: illuminated manuscripts, gold and silver work and sacred vestments relating to the basilica, which in the course of its history has been the beneficiary of many fine donations, some of which were from the Grand Duchy.

The silverware collection is in the Sala Silvani, where there is a display of precious silver and gold items, many of which are arranged according to type. The most significant pieces are: a partially gold-plated and enamelled silver-lamina processional cross, attributed to Lorenzo Ghiberti (1425 ca.); two silver patens attributed to Antonio di Salvi (1515); and a collection of rock crystal objects, four candlesticks with a cross-holder and cross given to the Virgin of Impruneta by Cristina of Lorraine in 1633. On the left-hand wall of the same room there is the 15 C bas-relief depicting "The Finding of the Icon", which evokes the episode that lies at the origin of the worship of the Madonna of Impruneta.

In the manuscript section there are eleven valuable illuminated codexes, seven from the 14 C and four from the 15 C, including: a gradual attributed to Lippo di Benivieni (ca. 1310 - 20); an antiphonary from the mid-15th century decorated by an illuminator influenced by Orcagna; and three 15th-century manuscripts illuminated by Antonio di Girolamo.

The section devoted to liturgical vestments consists of a collection of very fine sacred vestments that includes unique items such as the “capes” used for the venerated image of the Virgin.

Opening hours: Wed - Fri 10 am - 1 pm. Sat - Sun 10 am - 1 pm and 4.30 pm - 8 pm.

More about the Treasure of Santa Maria at Impruneta.

Basilica di Santa Maria of Impruneta

A visit to the museum can easily include a visit to the basilica, which has been restored and renovated a number of times over the centuries and embellished with some fine works of art. There are enamel terracottas by Luca della Robbia in the chapels which were designed by Michelozzi, on each side of the presbytery, and there are some 17 C paintings including "The Nativity of the Virgin" by Passignano, "The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian" by Matteo Rosselli and "The Vocation of St. Peter" by Jacopo Chimenti known as Empoli.

More about the Basilica of Santa Maria at Impruneta.

Museo Arte Sacra of San Casciano Val di Pesa

The museum is in rooms belonging to the church of Santa Maria del Gesù in San Casciano in Val di Pesa, and the first section consists of the rectangular hall of the church itself, where the original works are still in place, including a Madonna and Child by Lippo di Benivieni from the second decade of the 14 C. Works from other places of worship in the area include: the wooden Crucifix in the apse, a 14 C Siennese work; a 16 C painting depicting San Rocco, San Sebastiano and Sant’Antonio Abate, attributed to the Master of Tavarnelle; and the Incoronation of the Virgin by Neri di Bicci. The finest works are in the sacristy adjoining the church, in particular two paintings from the church of San Vico l’Abate, early works of Italian figurative culture: the altar-frontal with St. Michael the Archangel, attributed to Coppo di Marcovaldo and dating to the mid-13 C, and the Madonna and Child by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, dated 1319.

In the same room, there are some fine gold-background 14 C panels including: the Madonna and Child by the Master of the Horne triptych; various works on the same subject by Jacopo del Casentino, Master Francesco, Cenni di Francesco, the Master of Sant’Jacopo a Mucciana; and a painted cross attributed to the Master of San Lucchese and produced at the beginning of the 15 C. In front of the steps leading to the upper floor there is a polychrome marble statue attributed to Gino Micheli and dating to 1341.

In the final room, given over to liturgical vestments, there is a thurible and five processional crosses dating from the 14 C -15 C, two chasubles of Florentine manufacture executed between the 15C and the 16C, and a fine 18 C French cope.

Click here for details of the art displayed in the San Casciano Museum of Sacred Art

Opening hours:
Winter Sat 4.30 pm - 7 pm and Sunday plus public holidays 10 am - 12.30 pm and 4 pm - 7 pm
Summer Sat 5 pm - 7.30 pm and Sunday plus public holidays 10 am - 12.30 pm and 4.30 pm - 7.30 pm

Museo di Santa Maria sul Prato (della Misericordia) of San Casciano val di Pesa

This contains a fine collection of art works gathered over the course of time by the Compagnia della Misericordia and housed inside the church of Santa Maria sul Prato. The paintings worthy of note include three 14 C panels by Ugolino di Nerio depicting the Madonna and Child, St. Peter and St. Francis, and the Crucifix by Simone Martini. On the right wall of the church there is a marble pulpit from the middle of the 14 C, an important work by Giovanni di Balduccio.

Antiquarium di Sant'Appiano

Antiquarium di Sant’Appiano is a small archaeological museum located in rooms adjoining the Pieve di Sant’Appiano (just a few kilometres from Barberino Val d’Elsa). It houses some of the considerable amount of material found on archaeological digs in the surrounding area.

In the first of the two rooms making up the Antiquarium, there are some alabaster funerary urns from the Hellenistic period, with effigies of the dead carved on the covers and bas-reliefs depicting Greek mythological scenes. Two smaller containers, one of which has a depiction of a knight wrapped in a shroud about to enter the underworld, are inside a case together with red-figure Attic ceramics that date back to the period between the 6 C and 5 C BC. The cabinets in the second room contain Late Middle Age and Renaissance ceramics typical of the Florence area, some Etruscan memorial pillars and a small pagan idol in sandstone depicting the god Eros astride an animal, which was found during the demolition of the baptistery.

Click here for more about the Antiquarium of Sant'Appiano at Barberino Val d'Elsa

Pieve di Sant'Appiano

The interior of the parish church exhibits two different Romanesque architectural styles: an early Romanesque style dating to the founding of the building and a later style in the same style; this can be seen in the right aisle, which was destroyed and rebuilt between the 12 C and the 13 C. On the walls there are a series of frescoes by the Florentine School from the end of the 15 C (in the left aisle) and 16 C frescoes on the vault at the base of the bell tower and in the Cappella del SS. Sacramento.
Opening Hours: Sat - Sun 4 pm - 6 pm
Click here for more about the Parish church of Sant'Appiano.

Museo di Arte Sacra of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa

The museum is housed in buildings adjoining the Pieve di San Piero in Bossolo, and contains items of historical and artistic interest from various places of worship in the surrounding municipal area. In the central room on the ground floor there are works from the country parish church of San Piero in Bossolo. The pleasing collection of paintings include: a Madonna and Child attributed to Meliore; a Madonna and Child by Rossello di Jacopo Franchi; a panel with the same subject by Lorenzo di Bicci; a similar series of panels executed in 1473 by Neri di Bicci, including: a Madonna and Child Enthroned and a Lamentation over the dead Christ; a 16 C Madonna and Child between San Martino and San Sebastiano executed by a painter who with this work earned himself the name of the Master of Tavarnelle; and a Madonna and Child and San Giovannino by Empoli. In the cases, there are items of sacred silverware, some of which are of great historic and artistic value, including the 13 C processional crosses, the gold-plated and enamelled copper chalice from the 14 C and the chalice of Nicola de Angelis dating to 1706.

There are also two cases devoted to the “embroidery of Tavarnelle”, an ancient local art. There are both church vestments and domestic furnishings.

In the second room are works from the parish church of San Donato in Poggio. There are a number of fine paintings: a 14th-century triptych attributed to Ugolino di Nerio; the Madonna and Child between the Archangels Raphael and Gabriel by the Master of Marradi; two Saints by Giovanni Montini and other Florentine School works from the 18 C and 19 C. The vestments and artefacts include silverware by Zanobi Biagioni, a goldsmith working in Florence at the end of the 18th century.
The museum also has a room given over to popular devotion and worship, with the display of a series of silver and gold-leafed wood reliquaries. Finally, in the corridor of the priest’s residence there is a selection of ancient liturgical fabrics and a section devoted to figurative documentation of popular worship in the area.

Click the link for more details of the Tavarnelle Museum of Sacred Art

Opening Hours:
Winter Sat - Sun 3.30 pm - 6 pm
Summer Sun - Sat 4.30 pm - 7 pm

Museo di Cultura Contadina of Tavarnelle val di Pesa

In the Castello di San Donato in Poggio located in via del Giglio, there is a museum named after Emilio Ferrari, an engineer who made available for public viewing an extensive collection of farming tools, utensils and equipment. These items provide an insight into the way in which the agriculture and small-scale rural craft industries of the Chianti region functioned. There are also numerous copper utensils and containers of various origins, mainly from the 19 C.

Opening Hours:
Winter visits only by prior booking
Summer Mon - Sat 9.30 am - 12.30 pm and Sun 9.30 am - 12.30 pm