San Cassiano di Controne
San Cassiano, sheltered by the inaccessible crags of Prato Fiorito and formed by 8 nuclei, is the most inhabited centre of Controneria. In the 8th century the archbishops from Lucca had direct possessions, but at the end of the 10th century the Fraolmi inhabited the area, they were guild of the nobles from Corvaia and Vallechia. In 1197 the municipality adhered to the San Genasio’s alliance with Florence, San Miniato, Prato and Volterra to free the country lands from the feudal bonds and the Controneria swore allegiance to the municipality in 1214. In the second half of the 14th century it became under the feud of Francesco Castracani and joined the County of Coreglia to then go back to the vicariate of Val di lima. The church of San Cassiano, even if it appears never to have reached the status of parish (it was reported as being under the parish of San Giovanni di Controne), presents the basilican shape with 3 aisles divided by columns and pillars, usually reserved to main churches. Thanks to reports written during pastoral visits, we know that the old church had serious problems of stability between the end of the 15th century and mid 16th century, in particular in the foundations, in the right aisle and on the façade where a deep split had formed. Inside the building one can spot traces of consequent restorations, over and above the results of heavy 8th and 9th cent. rebuilding (these have led to the demolition of the semi-circular apse, later replaced by a smaller quadrangular apse) partly eliminated by restoration at the end of the 9th century. The façade of dichromatic freizes and overhanging arches is of debatable date; for certain, it conserves in its upper part a ceramic basin of the late 11th cent. On all the exterior façade, next to the already existing bell tower (datable thanks to an inscription of the 10th century) and in particular on the façade and interior capitals, there are numerous archaizing sculptures that contrast with the flat forms of the arches, of notable interest, the early presence of the bell tower of blind arches and inlaid diamond shapes generally attributed to the inventive and cultured “Buscheto”, the architect of Pisa Cathedral. The church retains its original floor in inlaid marble and houses precious goldsmiths’ work as well as wooden sculptures, among which statues of Sant’ Antonio Abate (4th century) and Sant’ Alessio and an early 15th century crucifix attributed to Francesco di Valdambrino. The “Annunciation” – early 14th century by the Maestro dell’Annunciazione di S. Cassiano and the partly mutilated group of San Martino on horseback by Jacopo della Quercia, perhaps coming from the cathedral of san Martino, are kept in the presbytery.
San Cassiano di Controne. Sala espositiva parrocchiale. Iacopo della Quercia , San Martino
San Cassiano di Controne. Panorama
San Cassiano di Controne. Chiesa di S. Cassiano
San Cassiano di Controne. Chiesa di S. Cassiano. Particolare facciata
San Cassiano di Controne. Chiesa di S. Cassiano. Attribuito a Francesco Valdambrino, Cristo Crocifisso. Sec. XV