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Places of worship

The church of San Giovanni

This church is one of the jewels of the Campagnatico area and is an important religious and artistic tourist destination

Map for 42.881932,11.277778
This church dedicated to San Giovanni (Saint John) dates back to the seventeenth century and is in the top part of the town. It gained importance during the eighteenth century. The church is laid out in the form of a Latin cross and has a spire shouldered by two chapels. The façade is made of Travertine stone and sandstone and has a central door under a decorated arch. Inside the church, the nave has a raised presbytery and the two chapels and spire have crossed vaults framed by large arches resting on imposing pillars. The adjacent bell tower was originally part of the town walls. Next door to the church is the parsonage which has a courtyard in front with a hexagonal well. This building has been restored several times over the centuries, most recently between 1981 and 1986. The bishop’s coat of arms and an inscription are on the façade of the building.

As you enter the church on the right, there is a font that dates back to 1586 and the Campagnatico coat of arms. In the church visitors can also admire a wooden tabernacle etched with gold which has six sixteenth century Sienese miniatures. This work of art is currently being restored. There are also a series of sixteenth century frescoes attributed to the Sienese School which depict the Apostles. The church is also home to some other frescoes which were restored and brought from the nearby church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This cycle of frescoes shows stories from the Virgin Mary’s life, such as the Birth of the Virgin; the Presentation at the Temple; the Assumption; the Coronation of Mary; the Prophets Daniele and Moses; the Marriage of the Virgin; the Death of the Virgin and the busts of the Prophets.

The recent restoration work revealed an inscription of the date 1393 and the names Cristoforo di Bindoccio (documented in Siena from 1361 – 1407) and Meo di Pero (documented in Siena from 1378 – 1407). The frescoes allow a comprehensive understanding of the work of these two men who were important artists of their day. The frescoes use a popular language and the faces of the people are distinctive and grotesque. The low quality of the work stands out in comparison to earlier works by these artists, such as the paintings in the Santa Maria della Scala hospital in Siena. The church is also home to a wonderful thirteenth century Madonna with Child, recently attributed to Guido di Graziano, often referred to as Biccherna. This Sienese work of art is a good example of later phase of the artist’s work. It is currently being held in storage.
Campagnatico is a typical medieval village in both structure and strategic position - placed on high ground with a steep drop into the Ombrone Valley to the east. The ancient castle cited in Canto XI of Dante’s Purgatory once belonged to the Aldobrandeschi family from Sovana before being passed down to the Tolomei governing family who were intent on keeping possession of this rich and fertile ...