Torre Figline

The old town centre of Figline Valdarno

In the heart of the old town is a huge piazza named after the city’s famous Humanist, Marsilio Ficino (1433 – 1499). The piazza was designed half way through the thirteenth century as a market square and visitors can still enjoy a stroll around the pictur

The Collegiata di Santa Maria
The Collegiata di Santa Maria was founded by Florentines in 1257 although today little of its original Gothic design remains. Over the centuries it has been renovated many times, most recently in 1913 and then again during the 1930s when the seventeenth century altars were destroyed.
Inside there is a 1539 painting showing Mary, baby Jesus and the saints in which Saint Romolo (patron saint of Fiesole and Gaville) is holding a scale model of the walled city.
There is also the nineteenth century chapel of Santissimo Sacramento which holds a sixteenth century baptismal font and a Saint Joseph made from terracotta which is attributed to Andrea della Robbia.
The most interesting work of art in the church is the ‘Master of Figline’ (il ‘Maestro di Figline’). This painting depicts Mary on a throne surrounded by angels, Saint Ludovico do Tolosa and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. The composition of this painting reflects that of the Giotto equivalent painted for All Saints in Florence in 1310 which can be seen today in the Uffizi. The painting shows similarities to the work of Simone Martini. The main difference is that the Maestro di Figline shows little concern for perspective and more attention to the decorative details of the scene.
Visitors will find a museum dedicated to sacred art just to the right of the church. Most interestingly, the museum houses a pair of angels dating from 1480 by Domenico Ghirlandaio which used to be next to the Maestro di Figline. Along with many other fascinating articles, the museum also contains ‘Il Martirio di San Lorenzo di Ludovico Cardi’,1590, a painting depicting the martyrdom of the saint.

The old Serristori Spedale
On the opposite side of the square from the church is a long, seventeenth century building. This used to be the Serristori Spedale, a charitable institution. It was founded by Ser Ristoro Serristori who was head of the noble Serristori family. He was a notary and left all his wealth to this holy institution, on the condition that his family could remain the legal owners. The Spedale was typical in its day as a place where the church and nobles provided a form of charity and assistance to the poor of the local area. This particular Spedale flourished for many years under the Serristori family’s protection. In 1890 the institution changed location and moved to Villa di San Cerbone. Parts of the loggia were frescoed by Niccolo Lapi at the end of the seventeenth century.

Palazzo Pretorio
Palazzo Pretorio is in Piazza B.Bianchi. It is a fourteenth century building which was renovated in neo-medieval style between 1924 and 1931 by Enzo Cerpi. The building is covered with various coats of arms of the town’s many mayors with their names inscribed. In the tower there is a fifteenth century bell which used to be used to call local citizens together for meetings. At the base of the tower there is a chapel which contains a terracotta work of art by Benedetto Buglioni which depicts Mary with Saint Sebastian and Saint Anthony with angels above holding a crown. This work of art originally comes from the Caiano Chapel at Pratomagno and has passed through various hands before finding its way to the chapel at Palazzo Pretorio.

Santa Croce delle Agostiniane Monastery
Not far away is the Santa Croce delle Agostiniane Monastery which was founded in 1542 in the same location where there used to be a Benedettine Vallombrosane Monastery. The church has pleasant eighteenth century decor. Visitors should note the crucifix and the sixteenth century altar cloth on the right altar.

The gothic church of Saint Francis
The gothic church of Saint Francis is situated in the nearby Stanislao Morelli square. It dates back as far as 1229 and it’s possible to see some of the original black and white decoration in the façade. There is also an early fifteenth century portico which holds a fourteenth century sculpture of Mary and Child. During an early twentieth century renovation of the church, many of the baroque decorations were removed. The layout of the church is the standard cross-shape with a long nave and a ceiling which had to be restored after damage done during the Second World War. Many works of art are to be found in the church such as the Mary and Child in the sacristy done on painted stucco which appears to have been created by Lorenzo Ghiberti’s workshop.

Home of the Serristori family
The home of the Serristori family is a complex of ancient buildings found at number 86 Via Castelguinelli (go right out of Saint Francis church, go along Vicolo Libri to Piazza Marsilio Ficino, take Via G.Oberan to the right of the church and go past the seventeenth century Canonica).
The Serristoris were the grandest and most important family in the town who collected an impressive assortment of works of art and furniture. The internal courtyard, walls and Italian style gardens are a must for visitors.

Garibaldi Theatre
The recently restored Garibaldi Theatre was built between 1868 and 1879 by a local architect called Angelo Pierallini. It was decorated by Egisto Sarri. The ancient town walls can be seen behind the stage and to the right of the theatre is the monumental Misericordia cemetery. This neo-classical cemetery consists of four domed chapels. Visitors can admire various terracotta statues and interesting late nineteenth/early twentieth century funerary monuments.