Pieve di San Leolino

Top choice in Panzano in Chianti

One of the most beautiful religious buildings in Chianti, this Romanesque pieve (rural church with baptistry) is located on a hilltop just outside Panzano in Chianti. Artworks inside the church include a 1421 polyptych behind the high altar by Mariotto di Nardo (1421), two glazed terracotta tabernacles by Giovanni della Robbia, and a luminous 13th-century triptych by the master of Panzano depicting the Virgin and Child next to saints including St Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of philosophers.

The history of the pieve is fascinating: named after a martyred 3rd-century bishop who evangelised the Chianti, the current structure was built in the 12th century on a site that had been home to an earlier religious complex. During the Renaissance, Pope Julius II granted both the pieve and its farm estate to the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence to support that institution's charitable work – a number of the hospital's coats of arms still adorn the building's exterior.

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