The history of the church of San Iacopo in Altopascio changed in 1988, when remains were found of a previous place of worship, dating to the late 11th century. From these – which encompassed part of the facade and apse – it can be deduced that the original church was smaller than the one built in the second half of the 12th century. The beautiful crenellated bell tower dating precisely to 1280.
In the second half of the 15th century extensive restoration measures were carried out, during which the roof of the church was replaced with a cross vault and the doorway was redone, the entire building was replastered and the floor was relaid. The opening of a door on the south side dates to the sixteenth century, decorated with multicoloured marble. The baptismal font was made between the 16th and 17th centuries when the population of Altopascio increased.
Between 1827 and 1830 – after the hospital founded by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo closed down – the church was completely rebuilt, its position was changed and the medieval building was converted into the transept of the new building. The altar and the pulpit were lost, the floor was removed and the vaults were destroyed. From that moment on, the building took on its present-day appearance, even though the complex was totally renovated in 1995, when the square in front of the old facade was redesigned.
KNOWN AS THE CITY OF BREAD, THIS HISTORIC STOP ALONG THE VIA FRANCIGENA HAS A CHARMING HISTORICAL CENTER
Altopascio has been known as a rest stop for pilgrims traversing the Via Francigena (a pilgrimage route running from Canterbury to Rome) for centuries, but it is also called the “city of bread” because of the long-standing traditions passed down through generations in a region known for its abundance of grain. ...