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Abbey of San Salvatore a Soffena

Places of worship

In Castelfranco di Sopra, discover the historic church that contains splendid Gothic and Renaissance frescoes

The Abbey of San Salvatore a Soffena in Castelfranco di Sopra, in the municipality of Castelfranco Piandiscò, was built in the 11th century on the ruins of an ancient castle, of which traces remain in the base of the bell tower of the later abbey.  The castle had belonged to the Ubertini family from Arezzo. Thanks to the papal seal of Pope Urban VI of 1090, the abbey became a dependent priory of Vallombrosa. From that period, transformations began and the walls were all frescoed. At the end of the work, Pope Eugene IV granted special indulgences to those who visited the new abbey.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the abbey was adapted to the style of the time. The frescoed paintings were whitewashed andreplaced by altars and Baroque stuccos. With the Leopoldine suppressions in 1779, the building was sold to private individuals who gave it different uses. It was briefly reduced to a state of abandonment until the State bought it back in 1960, restoring the building and bringing to light the frescoes found under the plaster.

Abbey of San Salvatore a Soffena
Abbey of San Salvatore a Soffena - Credit: Sailko

Today the former abbey is a monument open to the public that preserves important frescos from the late Gothic period and early Renaissance. Here you can admire the frescoes by Mariotto di Cristofano, Scheggia (Master of the Cassone Adimari) and Paolo Schiavo.

The episode of the Massacre of the Innocents was painted by Liberato da Rieti. This intensely dramatic painting shows mothers who try to steal their children from the hands of soldiers. There are also cycles of fragmentary frescoes by Bicci di Lorenzo, relating to the life of San Gualberto.

More attractions in Castelfranco Piandiscò