“Jerusalem”
of San Vivaldo
Montaione

A citadel of chapels and tempiettos built in the early 16th century by Franciscan friars, the “Jerusalem” of San Vivaldo is one of the most important examples of reproductions of Holy Land sites in the Wes.


Montaione, “Jerusalem” of San Vivaldo

The museum

The “Jerusalem” of San Vivaldo, built in the early 16th century by Franciscan friars, is one of the most important examples of reproductions of Holy Land sites in the West, intended as substitutive pilgrimage sites. A citadel of chapels and tempiettos, it is truly unique thanks to its topographic layout: the structures are arranged in the woods in an order that reproduces, on a smaller scale, the layout of Jerusalem at that time.
An expression of humble architecture, but underpinned by classical-style elements, the chapels contain original sculptural assemblages in multicolored, shaped and cold-painted terracotta inspired by episodes of the life and Passion of Christ, commissioned by the Franciscan friars from the Florentine Della Robbia workshop and created with input from masters like Agnolo di Polo and Benedetto Buglioni. These sculptures, along with the frescoes in the chapels, were intended to translate the evangelical message into engaging visual forms for the benefit of learned and illiterate faithful alike. Today they welcome visitors into a sort of grand sacred theater

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Works by great masters, multimedia reconstructions with voices and stories from the territory and the communities it hosts, archaeological finds and historical arts and crafts: every museum in the area offers great little stories to discover.

Art

Chapel of the Road to Calvary

The Road to Calvary chapel is one of the most architecturally elegant structures on the site, with harmonious proportions and a classical motif of capitals and entablature framing the façade. Inside is a grandiose scene of the procession accompanying Jesus to Calvary, in which figures of Joseph of Arimathea, Simon of Cyrene and the thieves can be identified. The two side doors invite visitors to join the crowd and follow Jesus towards Calvary by entering from the right and exiting on the left. It is thought that the dark-skinned soldier behind Jesus – a figure also found in other chapel paintings – is a depiction of the Devil.

Art

Madonna of Anguish

The small oratory dedicated to the Madonna dello Spasimo (Madonna of Anguish), although single-naved, has an elegant portico atop columns with Tuscan capitals adding interest externally, and hosts a group of sculptures attributed to Agnolo di Polo, one of the most remarkable in the complex in terms of artistic value and emotional engagement. It centers around a pale, anguished Madonna who has fainted, supported by elegant figures of John the Evangelist and the Pious Women, as well as a sweetly charming Mary Magdalene. The softly draped ropes, the bowed heads creating a harmonious composition, and the facial expressions all come together to draw the visitor and intensely feel the Virgin’s sorrow.

Art

Crucifixion

The square chapel with two terracotta arches atop the corner pilasters, hosts the most dramatic scene from the Via Dolorosa, the Crucifixion of Christ between two thieves.  The wall with the three crosses against it offers another example of ingenious integration between fresco painting and terracotta sculpture to create an illusion of perspective. The thieves’ bodies express more dynamic writhing than Christ, whose face and pose are more conventional. Attached to the chapel is the Stabat Mater shrine with statues of Mary, John and the Pious Women set in a lower niche, creating an intensely theatrical effect in which they appear stand by, taking part in the drama of Christ’s agony.

The land

Nestled in the Tuscan countryside, Montaione is an enchanting hamlet – named one of Italy’s most beautiful villages – that maintains its original medieval layout and also boasts a series of contemporary artworks.

Montaione is an enchanting medieval hamlet nestled in the Tuscan countryside in the province of Florence, in the Valdelsa zone, a touristic area known as “Tuscany at Heart.” Set on a lovely hilltop, it offers picturesque views over woods, vineyards and olive groves, and all the atmosphere of an authentic Tuscan town.

It’s a perfect base for excursions around Tuscany; from here it’s easy to make day trips to the region’s main cities.

This historic center has maintained its original medieval layout; listed as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, it also boasts a series of contemporary artworks. The entire territory, with a network of around 100 km of hiking trails, offers noteworthy historical and artistic sites, like museums, the 3rd-century Roman cistern, the village of Castelfalfi, and the sanctuary of the Madonna of Pietrina.

  • Archaeology
  • Art
  • Memories
  • Sciences & Technics

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Useful information

Contacts

Jerusalem San Vivaldo
(Gerusalemme di San Vivaldo)
Loc. San Vivaldo
50050 – Montaione (FI)
tel. +39 0571 699255 / 699267
www.www.comune.montaione.fi.it

Opening hours

summer
(from April 1 to October 31)

Monday to Saturday

3 pm – 7 pm

Sunday and holidays
10 am – 7 pm

winter
(from November 1 to March 31)

daily
2 pm – 5 pm

year-round
opening and guided visits for groups of 10 or more people by reservation

Tickets

Individual ticket with 1-hour guided visit
Regular: 5.00 €
Reduced: 4.00 €

Individual ticket with short 30-min guided visit
Regular: 4.00 €
Reduced: 3.00 €

Combined ticket (with Civic Museum)
Regular: 6.00 €
Reduced: 4.00 €