ROMANIC CHURCHES OF CASENTINO AREA
Distance from Villa Catarsena: 12 km (Pieve a Socana)
Romanic churches of Casentino Area
Many parishes, still existing today, date back to the Romanesque period, and rose along the two ancient medieval streets of the Via Flaminia Maior (which from Arezzo, along the Arno route, crossed the Casentino) and the Via Flaminia Minor (which in around Poppi is separated from the Via Flaminia Maior and continued to Consuma by touching Strada and the other inhabited centers up to Montemignaio).
Pieve a Socana
Many Casentino churches were rebuilt over pre-existing places of worship.
The church that best represents this idea is that of Sant'Antonino in Socana, an important place of worship from the time of the Etruscans as evidenced by the sacrificial altar found behind the church, one of the most impressive in Europe.
Santa Maria in Buiano
The parish church of Santa Maria in Buiano, a few kilometers away from the town of Poppi, stands on a pre-existing Roman site.
It is remembered from 1001 and entrusted by the emperor Frederick I to the benefit of the abbey of Capolona.
It was severely tampered with and reduced to a single nave, but originally had three naves ending with an apse, and entirely covered with trusses. The crypt instead maintains the original layout.
San Pietro a Romena
The church of San Pietro a Romena, very close to the castle, and that of Santa Maria Assunta in Stia, in Piazza Tanucci, that is, in the main square of the town, are two beautiful examples of Romanesque churches in the Casentino area.
The capitals of the parish churches reproduce figures of saints, mermaids, and monsters of medieval bestiaries, together with animals and common naturalistic elements taken perhaps from the local fauna and flora such as chestnut leaves.
Although deteriorated by the weather and centuries, the external decoration of the parish church of Romena is particularly striking.
Santa Maria Assunta Stia
Although remembered for the first time in 1017, the building you see now dates back to the end of the 12th century.
The parish church, with three naves divided by columns, was heavily transformed during the eighteenth century, when the façade and apse were rebuilt.
Part of the original structure was recovered from 1974, year in which the remains of a previous building (belonging to another cult) were discovered.
The sirens, the togates, the angular telamons, the parish priests and the bishops carved in the capitals recall those of the parish church of Romena.
Santa Maria Assunta in Montemignaio
The parish church of Montemignaio is similar in style and layout to that of the other Casentino churches, it was probably built by the same workers.
The interior is very suggestive due to the presence of pillars and columns, for the round arches that separate the bays, for the remains of some frescoes still visible on some pillars that have deteriorated over the centuries.
Other churches to see
In addition to the parish churches in Casentino there are other places of worship to be seen, rich in history and works of art.
In Bibbiena there are the provostships of the Saints Ippolito and Cassiano, San Lorenzo, the eighteenth-century Oratory of San Francesco and, nearby, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Sasso.
In Poppi there is to see San Fedele, the seventeenth-century oratory of the Madonna del Morbo and, nearby, the remains of the abbey of Strumi.
The provostship in the historic center of Bibbiena takes its name from the Saints Ippolito and Cassiano, saints to whom the first church was also entitled; it was located outside the town, in the "Il Castellare" district which was destroyed.
Inside the parish church, besides the fourteenth-century frescos, there are many artistic furnishings among which a wonderful Madonna and Child, by the fifteenth century Archangel master from Cola da Camerino, stands out.
San Fedele di Poppi
The church of San Fedele is located in the historic center of Poppi. It is particular for its Gothic structure, for the beautiful portal with capitals decorated with plant motifs and for the white and green colors of the arches near the transept.