Museum of the Basilica
of Santa Maria delle Grazie

VALDARNO

The recently re-furbished museum is housed in a building that adjoins the complex of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Many of the works preserved in the museum come from the Church of San Lorenzo. The core of the museum had already been created in the basilica’s sacristy beginning in 1864, thanks to the generous work of Vincenzo Mannozzi Torini, a representative of one of San Giovanni’s most illustrious families.

The controversial events of the post-Unification suppression of religious congregations are behind this museum’s origin, as is the case for many other Italian museums. Often, those events brought about, together with the alienation of religious buildings and furnishings, the loss of a true devotional, artistic and historical heritage.

In the case of San Giovanni Valdarno, Mannozzi Torini’s far-sightedness was followed by the then Florentine Superintendency’s zealous action. During the 1950’s, the works were placed in the building adjacent to the Oratory, which had been restored for that express purpose. Luciano Berti catalogued and added to the collections.

Subsequently other works of art entered the museum’s collections, including Fra Angelico’s Annunciation, which came from the church of the Franciscan convent of Montecarlo, located not far from San Giovanni. Recent renovation works were begun in 2000 and finished in 2005, which enlarged the exhibition areas – with the addition of three new halls – and brought the rooms into conformity with the new safety standards.

The museum houses paintings from the 14th to the 17th centuries, as well as liturgical silver works, vestments and hangings, and other objects of great importance to San Giovanni and its district.

A ramp leads from the ground floor to the piano nobile, where the entrance/ticket office is found along with a small bookshop. An important silver work, a large Baroque frontal by Bernardo Puccini introduces the collections in the other halls.

After the entrance, the halls proceed on a single floor at slightly different levels, connected by short ramps. The first, second and third halls house panels of religious subjects by Tuscan masters, ranging from the late 14th century into the following one.

The passageways between the third and fourth halls have display cases with silver works. Fra Angelico’s Annunciation is exhibited in the fourth hall. The main subject, the Annunciation of the Virgin, is described according to conventional iconographic schemes, inside a prized structure. The scenes on the predella depict the Virgin’s Wedding, the Visit of Mary to Elizabeth, the Adoration of the Magi, Jesus Being Presented at the Temple, and the Transit of the Virgin.

The attribution of the altarpiece, from the church of the Franciscan convent in Montecarlo, had long been controversial. Following a restoration carried out at the beginning of the 1970’s under the direction of Anna Maria Maetzke, it was definitively attributed to Fra Angelico.

Short Bibliography

Il Museo della Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie a San Giovanni Valdarno, Guide della Rete museale aretina. Di Cagno G., Montepulciano, Editore: Le Balze, 2005.

Museo della Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Guida alla lettura delle opere. Verdon T., Martini M., Sacchetti L., San Giovanni Valdarno, Editore: Mix Corboli, 2005.

Il gesto e l’espressione. Pasquinelli B., Milano, Editore: Electa, 2005.

annunciazione

Annunciation

Date: ca.1440
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: panel: 95 cm. x 158 cm.; each panel of the predella: 16 cm. x 30 cm.
Artist: Guido di Piero, later Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Fra Angelico)

The main theme, the Annunciation of the Virgin, is described according to conventional iconographic schemes, inside a noteworthy structure. The scenes on the predella depict the Virgin’s Wedding, the Visit of Mary to Elizabeth, the Adoration of the Magi, Jesus Being Presented at the Temple, and the Transit of the Virgin

calice-2

Chalice

Date: 1850
Technique and Materials: embossed, chiseled, engraved and cast silver
Size: foot: 28 cm. x 13 cm.; cup: 9 cm.
Artist: Salvatore Morelli (Florence, documented 1778-1851)

croce

Processional cross

Date: 1600
Technique and Materials: engraved, chiseled and embossed silver lamina, cast parts, on an iron Core
Production: Tuscan
Size: 42 cm. x 31 cm.

museo-esterno

Museum of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie

capelli-maria

Monstrance reliquary with Mary’s hair

Date: 1710-1711
Technique and Materials: engraved, turned, cast, chiseled and embossed silver
Size: base: diam. 37 cm. x 11 cm.; upper part: 13 cm.
Artist: Bernardo Holzmann (documented 1685-1728)

secchiello

Holy water pot and aspergillum

Date: second half of the 16th century
Technique and Materials: embossed, chiseled and turned silver
Production: Tuscan
Size: holy water pot:15 cm. x 23 cm.; aspergillum: 27 cm.

sanlorenzo

Bust of Saint Lawrence

Date: first half of the 15th century
Technique and Materials: Silver-plated and gilded carved wooden sculpture
Size: 61.5 cm. x 53.5 cm. x 27.5 cm.
Artist: Nanni di Bartolo known as Il Rosso (?) (Florence, documented from 1419 to 1451)

cristo-patiens

Christus patiens between the Virgin and Saint Lucy; on the predella: Saints Sylvester, Michael the Archangel and Ives

Date: 1420-1425
Technique and Materials: tempera on a wooden panel
Size: 207.5 cm. x 137 cm.
Artist: Mariotto di Cristofano (San Giovanni Valdarno 1395 – Florence 1457)

navicella

Incense boat

Date: late 16th century – early 17th century
Technique and Materials: embossed, chiseled, incised and engraved silver
Production: Florentine
Size: 13.5 cm. x 27 cm.

palliotto

Frontal

Date: 1684
Technique and Materials: incised, engraved, embossed and chiseled silver on a red velvet background
Size: 230 cm. x 90 cm.
Artist: Bernardo Puccini (Florence, documented 1656-1694)

legno-croce

Monstrance reliquary of the Wood from the Cross (formerly of the bones of Saint Joachim)

Date: 1712-1713
Technique and Materials: incised, turned, cast, chiseled and embossed silver
Size: base: diam. 37 cm. x 11 cm.: upper part: 13 cm.
Artist: Bernardo Holzmann (documented 1685-1728)

turibolo

Thurible

Date: late 16th century – early 17th century
Technique and Materials: incised, engraved, embossed and chiseled silver, cast parts
Production: Florentine
Size: base: 30 cm. x 8.3; brazier: diam. 14 cm.

calice

Chalice

Date: 1662
Technique and Materials: engraved, embossed and chiseled silver, cast parts
Production: Florentine
Size: foot: 24.5 cm. x 11 cm.; cup: 9 cm.

corone

Pair of crowns for a painting

Date: first decade of the 17th century
Technique and Materials
: embossed, chiseled and gilded silver lamina, coloured glass paste
Production: Florentine
Size: 13.5 cm. x 30 cm. and 8.5 cm. x 18 cm.

ostensorio

Monstrance

Date: 1708-1709
Technique and Materials: engraved, turned, cast, chiseled, embossed and partly gilded silver
Size: base: diam. 75 cm. x 16 cm.; sunburst: diam. 35 cm.
Artist: Bernardo Holzmann (documented 1685-1728)

pisside

Pyx

Date: 1609
Technique and Materials
: embossed, turned and incised silver, cast parts
Production: Florentine
Size: foot: 24 cm. x 8.5 cm.; cup: 13 cm.

santafilomena

Monstrance reliquary of Saint Philomena (previously of the bones of Saint Anne)

Date: 1712-1713
Technique and Materials
: engraved, turned, cast, chiseled and embossed silver
Size: base: diam. 37 cm. x 11 cm.; upper part: 14 cm.
Artist: Bernardo Holzmann (documented 1685-1728)

sposalizio

The Virgin’s Wedding

Date: 1621
Technique and Materials
: detached fresco
Size: 243 cm. x 214 cm.
Artist: Giovanni Mannozzi known as Giovanni da San Giovanni (San Giovanni Valdarno 1592 – Florence 1636)

Address

Museum of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie, San Giovanni Valdarno
Piazza Masaccio
San Giovanni Valdarno
Telephone: 055/9122445
Website | E-mail

How to get there:
By car: Motorway A1 (Florence-Rome/Rome-Florence); exit: Valdarno.
Firenze Sud-Valdarno: Km 35
Arezzo-Valdarno: Km 22

Opening hours

Winter time:
from Monday to Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. / 3 p.m. – 6.30 p.m.

Summer time:
from Monday to Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. / 2.30 p.m. – 6.30 p.m.

Weekly closing days: Tuesdays and Thursdays

Services

Accessible for the differently-abled
Bookshop

Tickets

Adults: €3.50;
Elderly people: €2.50;
Children 0-6: €2.50;
School groups €1, one free ticket for the escort every 15 students;

Groups with a minimum of 15 people: €2.50

Useful links

Two other websites talk about this museum:
Provincia di Arezzo
APT di Arezzo