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The Blessed Giovanna recounts the history of Signa

The frescoes in the Church of Saints John the Baptist and Lawrence

Map for 43.781371,11.09701

In 2007 they celebrated the seventh centennial of the death of Blessed Giovanna of Signa. A very important date for one of the oldest towns of the Florentine Plain iwhich is not only famous for being the "capital" of the straw district, but also for having played a crucial role in trade by river—for centuries it was one of the most important ports of the province.In the Parish Church of Saints John the Baptist and Lawrence there is a beautiful series of frescoes attributed recently to the work of the Master of Signa and the Master of 1411, entirely devoted to the Miracles of the Blessed Giovanna, the young shepherdess who became the symbol of the spirituality of the people of Signa. The work, restored a couple of years ago by the state with the collaboration of various public bodies and credit institutions, reveals the eight miracles wrought by Giovanna - four during her life and four after her death - and provides a series of amazing paintings of landscapes, clothes, objects and people from the time when Giovanna lived and worked.

The context is that of Signa in the fifteenth century, which we immediately recognize from the streets and buildings. Against the background of the fresco representing the Miracle of the Resurrected Child, it is easy to recognize the road from the bridge over the Arno. In the Healing of the Blind, in addition to the detailed description of the castle of Signa, one sees the ditches around the fortifications slab and ships sailing in the waters teeming with fish. The painters have not failed to give some details of country life, such as arable fields, and farmers at work as well as describing the clothing and armor of knights and ladies, taking as inspiration the characters related to the events of Giovanna.

Thus in the fresco of the Miracle of Donna Nuta, who was cured of the plague, you can linger on the clothing, hats and sandals of the maids who assist the sick. Or in the lunette that tells of the Miracle of Fons Artimino, taken prisoner by some British mercenaries the pay off Pisa during the war between Pisa and Florence in 1363, you can admire the armor of the soldiers. The restoration—which has returned to full legibility the stories of the cycle, removing the patina and dirt and dust caused by candles—is certainly one of the most important examples of the artistic heritage of the Florentine plain, an area that deserves to be re-evaluated even in the artistic aspect. 

Where to eat and where to sleep 

Stop at the Hotel Country Villa Castelletti, one of the oldest structures in the rural area, surrounded by green hills at the foot of Montalbano. This place full of history and anecdotes, suitable for meetings, receptions and photo shoots, is surrounded by a beautiful park with tall trees. The Country Hotel, converted from a farmhouse in the village dating back to '600, provides 21 suites, junior suites and deluxe rooms. The attached restaurant offers fine dishes marked by the Tuscan tradition, revisited through a banner of creativity, prepared with fresh ingredients and selected all the dishes, pasta, fillings and desserts are strictly homemade.

Villa Castelletti 

Via Castelletto, 5 

50058 Signa (FI) 

Ph +39 055 8790462


Signa is located in the province of Florence
Since the Middle Ages, the municipality of Signa was of great historical importance because of its strategic position. It is also an interesting area in terms of culture and art. The town is comprised of a low-lying part, which extends along the Arno river, and an ancient center that is found on higher ground, called "Castello". ...