The Church of St. Regolo
This is the most important church in Montaione, and its façade and bell tower dominate the Piazza della Repubblica in the heart of the historic town centre. Formerly dedicated to St Bartholomew, in 1816 the church was dedicated to St Regolo , who was a bishop and martyr from Africa, now the patron saint of Montaione. Before this, there was an older parish church located outside the walls of the town, which had been dedicated to St Regolo, but is now destroyed. Although it is unclear when the church was first constructed, it is believed to date to around the same time as when the castle and fortifications of Montaione were built, which took place in the decades between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. According to local lore, when the death of St Vivaldo, in 1320 in nearby Selva di Camporena, was announced, the church bells rang spontaneously and this was why the saint was buried there under the high altar, where he remained until the early twentieth century. We also know that in 1369, the Great Council of the Municipality was held there, which sanctioned Montaione’s submission to Florence.
The church has undergone several renovations over the centuries, which have determined its current interior layout as a hall church with a raised altar and a vaulted roof. The exterior is characterised by massive buttresses joined by arches supporting the vault, two of which frame the main façade. At the centre of the main façade, the radiant host of St Bernardino is depicted in stone, while, at the base of the right buttress, there is the tombstone of Francesco Chiarenti, one of Montaione’s illustrious citizens. Chiarenti was a medical scientist and agronomist, a member of the Georgofili Academy, and a member of the Triumvirate who ruled Tuscany between 1800 and 1801. The bell tower is located next to the façade. Originally 42 Florentine arms high (one arm measuring about 58 centimetres), it was demolished and rebuilt in 1795 in its present form. This structure has always been the property of the city and, throughout the centuries, it has served the double function of clock tower and church bell tower.
The present-day interior, with its serene stone moulding outlining the profile of the vault and lunettes, is the result of the renovation project financed by Scipione Ammirato il Giovane in the first half of the seventeenth century. Scipione, another illustrious figure from Montaione’s history, was a poet and diplomat of the Medici court, who is buried under the altar, marked by a gravestone. The altar is placed on a raised tribune, supported externally by the arch that connects the church to the rectory. On the central wall of the tribune, there is a wooden crucifix from the fourteenth century, while the dome bears a fresco from the mid-nineteenth century, depicting the “Virgin in glory between St Regolo and St Bartholomew”, by Cesare Maffei. On the right side of the church, there is an altar with one of the most important paintings preserved in Montaione: the “Our Lady of Council”, from the end of the thirteenth century, attributed to Guido di Graziano, a painter from the Sienese milieu. On the same side, there is a chapel with a neoclassical-style baptismal font, and a doorway that leads to the Hall of the Company, which contains a panel painted by Francesco Rosselli entitled “The Virgin Enthroned with St Regolo and St John the Baptist” (1584) and a painting depicting Tobias and the Angel (seventeenth century, from Flanders).
Church of San Regolo
Piazza della Repubblica, 50050 Montaione FI