monuments and places of interest
the rock of adam
Generally, Michelangelo is not considered a great landscape artist. His backgrounds are basic and there is little interest in the natural side and views. Nevertheless, recent researchers have identified the places described by Buonarroti.
The landscapes of Mount Penna are the same that can be found in the “Tondo Doni” (Uffizi Gallery – Florence) and “The Creation of Adam” (Sistine Chapel – Rome).
In the “Creation of Adam”, the profile of the Sanctuary of La Verna and the rocks on which Adam is laying are perfectly recognisable. They have an almost photographic precision with the real ones, so similar that the contour of the body coincides exactly with the boulders still present on site. It is no coincidence that this place is known as the Rock of Adam.
The landscape of the Creation of Adam is located near the Podesteria of Chiusi della Verna. The discovery of the Michelangelo’s scenarios was made in 2004 by Professor Simmaco Percario, a Michelangelo scholar, in collaboration with a local artist, Alessandro De Vivo.
The resemblance between the real landscape and the one reproduced by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel is so strong to suggest that the artist created the fresco considering a drawing or a preparatory sketch taken directly on the spot.
Detailed study by Simmaco Percario
The ruins of the ancient castle, dated before the 1000, lead on Chiusi della Verna. The first news of the castle is from 967, when Chiusi was at the centre of the feud constituted on this territory and was confirmed by the Emperor Ottone I to be under the domain of Goffredo.
THE ANCIENT STRUCTURE
The structure was built in large blocks of squared light stone (different from the dark one used for the other Casentino castles) and had originally large dimensions. The shape was of an irregular quadrilateral, which was necessary to adapt it to the rock; it had a tower in the highest part. The perimeter walls and the access door are still in good condition. The interior had a ground floor used as a warehouse and stables, an upper floor for the family and the other inhabitants.
Now we can only imagine its grandeur as it has been gradually disfigured.
Father Alfonso Bucarelli in “the Parish Church of Chiusi della Verna“, testifies the gradual dismantlement of this castle since the early 1400s.
Mariano from Florence wrote that Domenico Bartoli, in 1486, in order to make the new bell tower of La Verna, the wall “Tucto dalle pietre arrechate da Chiusi del palazzo devotissimo del Conte Orlando“.
In 1628, the Grand Duke granted the Compagnia dei Benefattori di Firenze to use the stones of the fortress of Chiusi, to continue the construction of the Beccia women’s hospice.
In 1740 (the date is carved in a stone in the third row), the wall of the southwest side of the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, was also covered with stones of the castle. Proof of the removed stones are the draft, about a dozen, in which the sundial line is still visible. Even the little chapel and the small wall of the old cemetery of Chiusi contributed to the dismantlement as the inhabitants themselves used the stones for new buildings. To conclude, the last act of a certain entity was to use the stones for the construction of the new cemetery, built in 1898/99.
CHURCH OF SAN MICHELE ARCANGELO
San Michele Arcangelo (1348) was built by the will of Countess Giovanna Tarlati.
Outside the church is covered with squared stones and inside it’s still presents part of the original design in addition to a revised part. This church was a small jewel, but over the years some interventions have ruined its original beauty. In 1800 the Chapel of the Madonna of the Rosary was rebuilt. The entrance was moved covering the large and ancient door. In 1960 a new bell tower was erected in place of the previous one, which was already unsafe and at the same time the church became enlarged.
LA MADONNINA DEL CASTELLO
The artist Antonio De Vivo, when his son Alessandro was born, wanted to leave a testimony of his joy for becoming father by building a cave and sculpting a Madonna portraying his wife’s face. This work has become a place of prayer for thousands of people and has become a symbol of Chiusi della Verna. It is also located in a position that allows you to admire a magnificent landscape.
In the Church of San Michele, behind the altar, there is another important work by Antonio de Vivo, a painting portraying the Saint.
FOUNTAIN BY CAMPARI
In Chiusi della Verna you can still admire one of the still standing fountains wanted by Campari in the early thirties.
Only three remain in Italy, they are the fountains created by the sculptor Giuseppe Gronchi in the ’30s. A total of 12 were commissioned by the Campari company as an example of advertising and are considered national monuments. The first to be installed was this of Chiusi della Verna.
The fountains were installed in different squares and in addition to providing a useful service for the citizens, they represented an example of marketing in those years.
In October 2018, the monument commissioned by Campari was reborn after the restoration, which was possible thanks to seven women, that for two years have been busy collecting the necessary funds with local markets and charity lotterya.
We are really proud of the goal we reached – comment the protagonists of the story – the dream was born in a winter afternoon of two years ago, when between a tea and a slice of cake, we had the idea, which seemed at the time impossible though. Now we can see the realisation of all our efforts. We especially thank our fellow citizens and not only for the active response to our fund-raising events, which allowed us to reach the finish line. We believe that this fountain should not have gone lost as they are an added value to our town, which is known all over the world for its proximity to the Franciscan sanctuary and the location in the National Park of Casentino forests“
THE FAIRY WOOD
This is an enchanted place with thousand different looks that change according to the gaze of those who observe them.
The magic that surrounds it leaves an indelible mark in the heart of those who can see. And even the Serpent of the famous legend showed itself. The story wants the Low Ring (path) that surrounds the mountain of Verna, was created by this creature, joining its tail with the head.
Other spirits face the rocks, they are everywhere, if you know how to wait.