Montaione – Jerusalem of San Vivaldo
Loc. San Vivaldo, Montaione
tel. +39 0571 699255/699267
April – October: from Monday to Saturday 3 – 7 p.m.; Sunday and holidays 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
November – March: every days 2.00 – 5.00 p.m.
Extra opening only on reservation, from June to September: 9 – 23 p.m by calling the numbers +39 0571 699255/699267.
Montaione, the heart of Tuscany. While Cristoforo Colombo was traveling towards a continent that would take its name from Amerigo Vespucci, in the ancient woods of the Selva di Camporena, a Franciscan monk, Tommaso from Firenze, and an elegant man meet.
The monk, wearing a tunic and a pair of sandals, describes to the nobleman the project he wants to realize in this forest that has seen so many hermits looking for God. The first is Vivaldo Stricchi (San Gimignano 1260 b. C.; Montaione 1320 a. D.) who became one with Creation living in symbiosis with the trees. Tommaso wanted to build a miniature Jerusalem that would allow one to experience the pilgrimage to the Holy Land –which every year was becoming more dangerous-- here in Tuscany.
He asked the nobleman to introduce his idea to the rich Florentine families, so that they could take part in the construction of the chapel, that would have been built following the plan of Jerusalem, which was owned by his congregation. The nobleman thought about it: this idea would have given him prestige with the Pope. He was already imagining the competition among the most powerful families of Florence, finding the best artists to hire. And he wanted to win this competition.
More or less – with some imagination – this is how the Jerusalem of San Vivaldo was born: a collective achievement, obtained thanks to people, patrons, artisans and great artists. Art historians have attributed the various works of art to the workshops of the greatest artists of Renaissance: Giovanni della Robbia, Giorgio Vasari, Andrea del Verrocchio, Sansovino, Benedetto Buglioni, Raffaellino del Garbo, Raffaello Carli, Agnolo di Polo and many others.
Many books have been published on this place, but San Vivaldo seems to have a deep and undefinable mystical dimension that is difficult to explain.
It is our job now to discover it.