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Pieve di Corsignano Pienza

CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES

Pieve di Corsignano

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Pieve di Corsignano


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This church is located at only a few hundred meters from Pienza, but it’s isolated in a fantastic green corner of countryside with an overwhelming view. The presence of a worshipping place in this location had already been recorded in 714 by some documents, regarding a dispute between the bishops of Siena and Arezzo for the ownership of the Baptistery of Saint Vito in Turiliano, identified as the present parish. Successively, documents in 1029 and 1044, identify the parish with the new name of Saint Vito in Corsiniano. Presently , the church is dedicated to Saint Vito and Saint Modesto, although it’s known as Parish of Corsignano. The appellation derives from the ancient name of Pienza, that was modified into the present one by Pius II. Thanks to this Pope , the parish has gained great popularity . As a matter of fact, in 1405, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, the future Pope Pius II, and afterwards his nephew, that became Pope III were baptized in this parish. Inside, next to the baptismal font, there ‘s an epigraph, in Latin, that certifies the eloquent baptisms : Hic duo Pontifices sacri baptismatis undas, Patruus accepit, et Pius inde Nepos. Nowadays, the sacred building shows the structure, that has been drastically modified during the XIIth century. The construction is made of sandstone blocks, typical of the quarries in the area. It has a gabled facade decorated with Lombard style archways. The main portal is enriched with decorations and symbolisms. It’s framed by two small spiral columns. The jambs, the architrave and the archivolt are decorated with mythological figures, floral motifs and animal figures that some scholars date back to pre Christian traditions. In the upper part of the facade there’s a mullioned window subdivided by a caryatid, representing a naive, feminine figure with a prosperous bosom. In the Christian context this figure surely represents the Virgin Mary , but it reminds us of Maenad, who was, in pagan iconography , a symbol of fertility . On the right side, a second portal decorated with bas reliefs representing Nativity scenes, opens up. On the left, rises the characteristic beheaded bell tower, with a singular cylindrical shape, that seems to have been constructed before the church and that ,maybe, it housed the baptismal font. The interior is made up of three naves, supported by huge pillars with asymmetrical arcades. The covering is made up of bare faced trusses. The parish doesn’t house important art works, since its peripheral position compared to Pienza, caused its disuse and eventually its abandon. The restoration of 1925, brings back the original structures in the solemnity of the Romanesque style. Walking through the naves, one can view the two altars, and the baptismal font supported by a Romanesque capital, where it seems that the two Pontiffs were baptized. At the end of the nave on the right, one enters a small vaulted crypt built with sandstone bosses.

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