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Abbazia di San Salvatore a Soffena
Photo ©Sailko
Places of worship

Soffena Abbey

Home to many frescoes that date from the Late Gothic period to the Renaissance

Map for 43.622854,11.559881
Castelfranco di Sopra
Via di Soffena, 2
Soffera Abbey was built in the eleventh century on top of the ruins of an ancient castle which belonged to the Ubertini family from Arezzo. Traces of this original castle can still be seen today around the base of the abbey’s bell tower. A Papal bull by Pope Urbano VI in 1090, which favoured the Vallombrosa congregation, made the abbey into a dependant priorship. At that time, renovations were carried out and frescoes were added to the walls. At the end of the work, Pope Eugenio IV gave indulgences to all those who travelled to this place of worship dedicated to San Salvatore a Soffena.

At the start of the eighteenth century, the abbey was again altered to suit the current style and the frescoes were replaced by altars and Baroque style plaster decorations. The building was sold to a private buyer in 1779 during the reign of Grand Duke Leopold. The building was all but abandoned and soon ran into a terrible state of disrepair. It was eventually bought by the state and underwent extensive restoration work between 1960 and 1968. During this restoration work, the original frescoes were discovered under the plaster wall decorations which had been added in the eighteenth century.

The old abbey is now open to the public and visitors can admire the many frescoes that date from the Late Gothic period to the Renaissance. In the church there are frescoes by Mariotto di Cristofano, Scheggia (the Maestro of Cassone Adimari) and Paolo Schiavo. There are also other frescoes such as the ‘Slaughter of the Innocents’ which sits under two fragmented figures by Bicci di Lorenzo and a ‘San Gualberto on his Throne’ surrounded by other scenes from the saint’s life. Visitors can also visit the adjacent cloister which can be reached through a side door in the church. This cloister has be renovated and includes a pretty lawn with an ancient well.

Entry fee


Disabled access

Contact: polomusealetoscana.beniculturali.it
Castelfranco Piandiscò
A small village with a rich history in a breath-taking countryside
Along the ancient Strada dei Sette Ponti, between the Arno and the slopes of the Pratomagno, more or less halfway between Arezzo and Florence, there is the beautiful village of Castelfranco di Sopra. Even the road leading to the ruins is noteworthy: along the way you can admire one of the most striking Tuscan countrysides. ...