Borgo San Lorenzo, the parish church and the road to Faenza
Borgo San Lorenzo is an ancient urban center located right in the middle of the Mugello in the province of Florence. The territory of Borgo San Lorenzo is quite varied, ranging from the valley along the Sieve river to the mountains with altitudes above 1,000 meters.
Borgo began to develop in Roman times with the name of Anneianum, a center located on the road that connected, and still connects, Florence with Faenza: the Via Faentina. In medieval times, the center developed further around the Pieve di San Lorenzo, thus becoming the main center of the area. Disputed by some local potentates, the village became part of the territories of Florence between the end of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when it was also equipped with defensive walls. During the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (with the Habsburg-Lorraine), Borgo San Lorenzo definitively established itself as the main center of the whole Mugello.
Main places to visit in Borgo San Lorenzo
Borgo San Lorenzo preserves some monuments inherited from the past, even part of its heritage has been lost due to some earthquakes. To these monuments are added some museums that help us to learn more about the history of the place and the craft productions that have developed here.
- Medieval walls and gates of Borgo San Lorenzo
- Pieve di San Lorenzo
- Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso dei Miracoli
- Villa Pecori Giraldi and Museum of Manifattura Chini
- Monumento al cane Fido
Medieval walls and city gates
The walls of Borgo San Lorenzo date back to 1351; historically these walls were interspersed by four turreted gates. Unfortunately today there is not much left of these structures: only a small stretch of the wall remains in Via San Martino, while you can admire a couple of city gates, the Porta Fiorentina, located in via Mazzini, and the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) in Piazza Cavour.
Pieve di San Lorenzo
The Pieve di San Lorenzo is undoubtedly the main monument of this town. It is a large building in Romanesque style dating back to the 12th-13th century, mainly characterized by a very particular bell tower made in bricks that has an irregular hexagonal plan. Inside there are several art-works that span a very long time frame: from a Madonna with Child attributed to Giotto up to works of the twentieth century as the St. John the Baptist by Galileo Chini.
Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso dei Miracoli
The Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso dei Miracoli dates back to the first half of the eighteenth century, but was rebuilt after the serious earthquake that hit Mugello in 1919 causing widespread damage throughout the valley. Among the various works preserved inside, stands a wooden crucifix of the fourteenth century considered miraculous.
In the immediate vicinity of the sanctuary we find also the thirteenth-century church of San Francesco which preserves traces of frescoes dated between the fourteenth and the sixteenth century.
Villa Pecori Giraldi and Museo della manifattura Chini
The Villa Pecor Giraldi is a beautiful Renaissance palace surmounted by a large tower with corbels. It belonged to the Giraldi family first and then to the Giraldi sheep, then in 1978 it was donated to the Municipality of Borgo San Lorenzo and since 1999 it has hosted the Museo della Manifattura Chini.
The museum is focused on the artistic production of the Chini family, originally from Borgo San Lorenzo, which gave birth to a series of artists among which stands out Galileo Chini, painter, decorator and ceramist considered one of the main exponents of the Art Nouveau style in Italy.
An interesting aspect is that the villa itself is a testament to the artistic skills of the Chini, given that some of them have realized the decoration of its rooms. Finally, to complete the museum itinerary, we find an educational workshop for children called “Chini Lab”.
Address: piazzale Lavacchini, 1
April – October: Thursday-Sunday 9-13 and 15-19
November – March: Saturday-Sunday 10-13 and 15-19
Tickets: regular 3 euros, reduced 1.5 euros
Monumento al cane Fido
Here we are facing an unusual monument born of a tearful story. As well as the famous dog Hachiko, also Fido stood out for his incredible loyalty. Every day Fido used to wait for his master who returned from work to the bus stop, and even after the man’s death, which occurred in 1943 due to a bombing, Fido continued to wait for him every day, until the day of his death, for 14 years.
What to see around Borgo San Lorenzo
Near Borgo San Lorenzo there are many interesting things to see. In Grezzano there are the Molino Faini and the Museo della Civiltà Contadina di Casa d’Erci, focused on the rural culture between the 19th and 20th centuries. Still in the vicinity of Borgo, I also point out the presence of some medieval churches like that of San Giovanni Maggiore and that of San Cresci in Valcava.