Church of Santa Maria Primerana

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Church of Santa Maria Primerana
Chiesa di Santa Maria Primerana  (Italian)
Fiesole, santa maria primerana 03.JPG
Front façade of the church
43°48′23″N 11°17′37″E / 43.8064°N 11.2935°E / 43.8064; 11.2935Coordinates: 43°48′23″N 11°17′37″E / 43.8064°N 11.2935°E / 43.8064; 11.2935
Location Fiesole, Tuscany
Country Italy
Denomination Catholic Church
Founded AD 966
Dedication Saint Mary
Style Gothic & Mannerist
Diocese Diocese of Fiesole

The Church of Santa Maria Primerana (Italian: Chiesa di Santa Maria Primerana) is a Roman Catholic church located in the Tuscan town of Fiesole. It encloses the eastern end of Piazza Mino, next to the Praetorian Palace.


First mentioned in AD 966, the church was built atop the stylobate of a Roman temple, from which a pietra serena pillar was incorporated into the church's north wall. There is also a Roman decumanus running north–south that flanks the church. Moreover, findings of nearby Lombard sepulchres indicates that the church was once an early Christian site. The church occupies a prominent position in Piazza Mino, near the Fiesole Cathedral. Due to an image inside of the Virgin Mary it appears that the church is the site of the oldest instance of veneration of the Madonna in the Diocese of Fiesole, which would form the basis for "Primerana" in the church's name.[1]

Santa Maria Primerana was expanded in the Middle Ages. From this period, the Gothic chancel remains. A new façade was built at the end of the 16th century in the Mannerist style. The interior was decorated with sgraffito decor by Ludovico Buti.[2][3]

The portico, which is constituted by an architrave supported by columns of the Ionic order, dates to 1801.[2][3]

The interior consists of a single transept room. The high altar was constructed between 1745 and 1767 by Bernardino Ciruini.[4] On the altar is a 13th-century tablet by Maestro di Rovezzano, which depicts the Madonna and Child.[2][3]

In the transept are two marble bas-reliefs by Francesco da Sangallo. One dates to 1542 and is a Self-portrait of the artist; the other dates to 1575 and is a Portrait of Francesco del Fede. Also in the transept is a glazed terracotta from Andrea della Robbia's workshop depicting the Crucifix between the Madonna, St. John, Mary Magdalene and Angels. There is, additionally, a large, painted, wooden crucifix designed in the Giotto school from the 14th-century, which is attributed to Bonaccorso di Cino.[2][3]

The faded remains of frescoes on the walls are by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini.[2]

Image gallery

Northwestern corner of the façade 
Dome above the chancel 
High altar 
Top of the doors 
Pipe organ 
Artistic embellishments
Andrea della Robbia's crucifix 
Base of the crucifix 
Sangallo's self-portrait relief 
Sangallo's relief of Francesco del Fede 
Remains of Gerini's fresco 
Intact fresco by Gerini 
Buti's sgraffito above the entrance 
Gerini's ceiling fresco 
Bonaccorso di Cino's crucifix 

See also


  1. ^ "Santa Maria Primerana". Fiesole for You. Comune di Fiesole. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Guida d'Italia, Firenze e provincia [Guide to Italy: Florence and the Province] (in Italian). Milan: Touring Editore. 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d "I Luoghi della Fede: Chiesa di Santa Maria Primerana". Retrieved 17 February 2018. 
  4. ^ "Santa Maria Primerana". Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2018. 

External links

Media related to Santa Maria Primerana (Fiesole) at Wikimedia Commons

  • Diocese of Fiesole
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