chiesa-san-michele The Church seen from behind. credit: Valenti Radici L.

It was probably built in the 12th century and initially it was “castle church”: it is in fact located inside the fortress and leans against the walls. In the 14th century a chapel was built inside as a baptismal font, now known as the Chapel of San Filippo.

After 1559, following a decree by Bishop Guidiccioni, a second chapel was added to the church. In the 18th century the churchyard was given a new shape. The major transformations come about in the 19th century and consist mainly in the raising of the ceiling, the closing of the presbyterial door and the construction of the new apse above the remains of an ancient tower. These works were designed by the architect Giovanni Lazzarini. The last addition was the new San Michele door.

According to the description by G. Lera, some noteworthy external aspects include: the presbyterial door on the west side (now closed); the statue of San Michele inserted in a niche above the south door; the fragment of a frieze carved on the ancient eastern entrance; the exterior decoration of the chapel of San Filippo with gothic arches resting on animal heads, now almost completely corroded by the passage of time; and two columns in Tuscan style placed at the eastern entrance and once intended to support the two statues of the Annunciation. These two beautiful statues, currently placed on either side of the altar, were dated with precision to 1351 by Marco Paoli. The Pre-Romanesque ambo representing a cow seems to be one of the oldest pulpit supports of the whole Serchio Valley.

Inside there are others valuable works: a 15th-century Baptismal font; a statue of San Michele; the Madonna delle Grazie (a 16th-century painting); a large wooden crucifix (of fine workmanship where the shape of the body and the grace of the head suggest that it is a 15th century work, with German influences). On the high altar there is a wooden cross, six small candlesticks and six large ones. In the Sacro Cuore chapel there is a tabernacle by the Civitali (16th century). In the chapel of San Filippo there are: two statues depicting the Madonna and the messenger angel; a post-renaissance wooden altar of fine workmanship, with painting of the Madonna of the Girdle with the saints Agostino, Antonio da Padova and Filippo Neri. Finally, there is a holy water stoup dated to 1594 and a wooden bust from the 17th-18th century.


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