ADDRESS: Via Pieve di Brancoli - loc. Pieve di Brancoli
The church of San Lorenzo is a small Romanesque-style jewel located in the Piana di Lucca valley, more precisely in the Brancoleria area, along the road that leads from Vinchiana to Pieve di Brancoli.
A suggestive place, in the middle of nature and uncontaminated woods, between agricultural lands and olive groves, with a superb view over the Serchio river valley.
A document from 1260 mentions the church of San Lorenzo for the first time as a building of worship depending from the nearby church of San Giusto di Brancoli, in the parish of San Giorgio. On the basis of the architectural features and the masonry, the construction of the building was probably realised by different workers during the 12th century.
A simple and austere church, built with squared white and gray limestone elements without any sculptural decorations. It consists of a single nave that ends with a semicircular apse crowned by arches, the roof was projected like a hut supported by wooden trusses. The unusual and particular bell tower is structured on a high arch, where once an ancient roadway passed.
Inside the church the most precious object is a glazed terracotta work depicting San Lorenzo, attributed to Andrea Della Robbia. In a rounded niche with a blue background, the saint has very young features, holding a palm in his right hand and the Gospel in the left, behind him a gridiron as an iconographic symbol of his martyrdom.
Itinera Romanica (Romanesque itineraries)
Today the church is an important stop on one of many Romanesque itineraries that characterize the Upper Tyrrhenian area between Italy and France. Naturalistic, historical and cultural routes that cross small hill villages and rural environments along ancient paths, where minor religious architecture such as churches, basilicas, parish churches and chapels can be discovered.