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Pieve di san Donato
Photo © Paola Curradi
Photo © Paola Curradi

The Parish Church of San Donato in Calenzano

Places of worship

The parish where Fr Lorenzo Milani established his school for the disadvantaged

The parish church of San Donato is known for the work of Don Milani who established a school for the disadvantaged in the area from 1947 to 1954. It stands on a hill overlooking val di Marina, the centuries old Roman road that connected the two provinces of Florence and Pistoia, offering a splendid view of the surrounding countryside.

Dating from the 9th to 10th centuries, the church was probably built on a pre-existing military building. During the Ghibelline raids of the 14th century, it offered shelter to many nearby inhabitants.

In 1450 the Medici family acquired the church. Cosimo the Elder’s son Carlo modified the structure, adding an elegant cloister.

It was later transformed into a holiday residence and from 1502 the parish church of San Donato was used by the canons of the Prato propositura, including Giovanni de 'Medici (who became Pope Leo X in 1516) and Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici (Leo XI, 1605).