Via della Casaccia, 2-6, 50041 Legri FI, Italia
The village of Legri is home to the Church of San Severo, whose origins date to the early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Indeed, name of the church’s patron saint, who was the 12th bishop of Ravenna, is a reference to the Byzantines’ devotion to the saint. A document found in the crypt that talks about the martyr Raimberto, who likely died during the Lombard invasions, has led scholars to believe that the church has existed as early as the 6th century. Like the castle that dominates the village from above, San Severo is located along the road that leads from Calenzano to Barberino and which lost importance when the Barberinese road was built.
Cited in many imperial and ecclesiastical documents starting in the 10th century, the church oversaw six suffragan churches in the valley. After the year 1000, San Severo was renovated into what we see today. Similar to many other places of worship from this period, the parish church in Legri vaunts architectural features that are markedly different from early Christian basilicas. These include the three naves divided by columns, the elevated presbytery and the crypt. Ruins of priceless frescoes can be seen on the walls of the church, including one of St. James painted in the mid-1300s by Pietro di Miniato and The Last Judgement with the Virgin Mary and Saints from the 15th century. The church was restored in the 1980s and vaunts an imposing bell tower decorated with small arches.
The artist Luca Landucci recalled an incident on October 10, 1501, when “it was raining very hard, with thunder and flashes of lightning, one of which struck the bell tower of the church in Legri one morning when the citizenry were at church; it was Sunday and the priest was dressed to go to the altar; a part of the bell tower collapsed, five people died and more than 40 were wounded.” (in Daniela Lamberini, Nicola Ricchiuti, Piergiorgio Salvalai, Calenzano e la Val di Marina: storia di un territorio fiorentino, Prato : Del Palazzo : Municipality of Calenzano, 1987)