Monday, March 23, 2015

San Pietro a Gropina

San Pietro a Gropina is an obscure church in an obscure Tuscan town.

Its facade is one of the plainest you will over see.

Only this one strange exterior detail hints at the riches of weirdness within.

The nave and the apse.

The weirdness begins with the capitals on the interior columns, which prove the point that Romanesque sculptors could put literally anything on a capital.

But the real locus of the bizarre is the pulpit.


Absolutely no documentation survives for the building of this church. Based purely on the style, it is generally dated to the twelfth century. Here's a nice diagram showing how the Romanesque church sits over the foundation of a Lombard church dating to the seventh or eighth century, and the Lombard church over a small late Roman church. But more than that we cannot say about how this church came to be.

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