We first have to thank Andrea Peruzzi, a dweller of the Badiaccia, for his generous support in helping us, mere enthusiasts, to reconstruct its history through the written commentaries of those who witnessed the events that made us what we are now. His painstaking archive research and collection was priceless to recall a history which now belongs to us all.


Facts about Badia a Montemuro

Badia a Montemuro
Region: Tuscany
Province: Siena
Municipality: Radda in Chianti
Coordinates: 430 33 N, 110 24’ E – Height; 706 m a.s.l.
Population: 26 (2001)
Phone prefix: 0577 - ZIP code: 53017

Badia a Montemuro (also known as Badiaccia a Montemuro), is a district of the town Radda in Chianti, in the province of Siena, stands at 706 m above sea level on the slope of Monte San Michele. Its history is closely linked to Montemuro Abbey, now the church of San Pietro a Montemuro. The remains of the abbey are the most interesting feature of the hamlet.

Cardinals Umberto di Silva Candida and Pietro di Tuscolo consecrated the original church of Montemuro in 1058.
The present church, San Pietro, has been erected with what was salvaged from the ruins of the abbey. It consists of a single nave structure; a circular opening above the main doorway marks its façade. The masonry is made of Alberese marble. The left side of the transept, once covered by a cross-vaulted ceiling, is all that’s left of the former abbey. From this evidence it can be surmised that it was built as Latin cross, single-nave, protruding-transept structure, quite common at that time.

Name of the church: San Pietro (Rectory). Diocese: Fiesole. Population in 1551: 111, in 1745: 89, in 1833: 136, in 1840: 156.

Up to the late 70’s a few erratic sandstone capitals could be seen lying around the premises. One of these displayed an eagle with spreading wings, very similar to those found in nearby Santa Maria Novella parish church. These capitals have since disappeared.

Some history

A Longobard warrior flees through the woods towards the watershed between the Pesa and Arno rivers.
There, in a place called the BADIACCIA, he meets a hermit who tends his wounds, and once healed, converts him to Christianity.
Together they erect a niche dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, using the same stones that the Etruscans employed to build the wall on the side of the road connecting the two rivers.
The two pious men then raise a coenobium (small monastery) to house and help pilgrims and wayfarers.
After a while (it is now 1058), there are a few small houses and a church dedicated to Saint Peter, the latter consecrated by two great prelates, Cardinal Umberto da Silva Candida and Cardinal Pietro di Tuscolo.
In the year 1125, the Camaldolese monks take charge of the church and monastery, and build, also keeping it under their jurisdiction, the Oratory of San Michele agli alti Monti.
The seal of Pope Honorius III bears witness of this, as from the archives of Passignano Abbey.
The same privileges are granted by Pope Innocent II in 1138, Pope Lucius III in 1184, Pope Innocent III in 1198, Emperor Otto IV in 1209, and Emperor Charles IV in 1355.
There are many other documents, formerly owned by Passignano Abbey, and now preserved in the National Archive, that refer to Badia a Montemuro.

In the year 1070, Azzo, son of Rainzo and his wife Rozia, Raimbero di Adelmo and his son Teuzo, all promise not to harass the monastery at Montemuro.
In 1083, “ Ranieri di Raniere and his spouse Ermengarda, in their Castle in Boni bequeath a plot of land in Pian del Mandrio”.
In 1094, “Rolando Signorelli degli Adimari gives the abbey some nearby property (breve finitionis et perdonatis de assalti, quaned de battitura seu et de vulnera seve de injuria). The privileges of the abbey were then “rented”, at the beginning of the 14th century, to the Musciatto Franzesi family, lords of Staggia.
Around the year 1314, Friar Bartolomeo di Bonone Pistoiese, wishing to withdraw from worldly matters, received from the nobles of Monterinaldi the now dilapidated Montemuro abbey, and founded the Congregation of the Girolami Augustinians.
There he retired, with a few fellow monks, Piero Corsini in 1320, Bernardo Lippi in 1325, Paolo Bindi and Giovanni Daddi in 1326, and others, as stated by a parchment preserved in the archives in Passignano.
In 1324, Bartolomeo left to build the cloister of Campora sul Poggio di Colombaia, near Florence, as documented by a bull by Cardinal Orsini, papal legate.
In 1513, through a brief by Pope Leo X, it was declared a dependency of San Benedetto Abbey, near Florence, and when the latter was destroyed during the siege of the city in 1529, was then annexed to the Monastery of the Angels of Florence.
The small, picturesque mountain hamlet, now known as Badiaccia a Montemuro, still preserves some of the original monastic structures. In particular, the front of the church and the original cross-vaulted transept.
Carlo Mannini

Montemuro Abbey

A thriving monastic community was present in 1078. In 1125, a bull by Pope Honorius II confirmed it, as well as the nearby church of Saint Michael, to the Camaldolese Order, which had since some time settled in the area. At the start of the 14th century the Franzesi family, lords of Staggia Senese, owned the surrounding land,. Niccolò Franzesi, the patriarch, after being declared bankrupt by the municipality of Florence in 1308, had his holdings seized. He rebelled, successfully resisting in his strongholds between his Staggia castle and Badia a Montemuro.
Around mid-century, the abbey was again property of the Camaldolese, but more or less fifty years later they joined it to Saint Benedict Monastery in Florence. When in 1529 the latter was destroyed during the siege of Florence, it went under the same administration of Monastery of the Angels who kept it, up to the first years of the 19th century. After the Napoleonic takeover it fell in disrepair and almost entirely collapsed. What remained was used to erect the church of San Pietro a Montemuro.

Le strade del Chianti Gallo Nero, by G. Brachetti Montorselli, I. Moretti and R. Stopani; Bonechi editore,Florence, 1984.

and the Roman roads
between Chiusi and Florence

Alfredo Maroni

Badiaccia a Montemuro takes its name from Mt. Muro (720m a.s.l.), and stands in the middle of a plateau. Among other buildings there is the church erected by the Camaldolese monks during the 11th century. They dwelled in an adjacent monastery, next to the abbey consecrated in 1058, where they stayed until 1661. From 1784 until present time, the abbey became the parish church of San Pietro a Montemuro. Above the doorway is the emblem of the Camaldolese monks: two doves drinking from the same chalice. After 1616 it was pejoratively referred to as “Badiaccia”, due to its decayed state until 1658.

Robert Davidson: History of Florence, vol. 4, page 484

The bankruptcy of Niccolò de’ Franzesi;, one of Niccolò’s guarantors, his nephew Vanne de’ Gherardini, was jailed on account of his uncle, who then managed to draw Siena to his side. He was allowed to use Trequanda castle, and with the help and tacit acquiescence of his new co-citizens he put up a legal, and sometimes armed, fight against the measures taken by the municipality of Florence. In the history of commerce it is a unique case of a debtor successfully resisting his creditors and the executive power, and eventually win. Niccolò gave refuge to Florentine outcasts in the castles of Montedomini, near Radda in Chianti, and Pian del Franzese in the upper Arno valley, earlier bought at the height of his power. He fortified Badia a Montemuro ceded to him by the Camaldolese monks, and put up an effective defensive strategy in the castles in Staggia sull’Elsa and Colle in Valdarno.

File taken from “Il Dizionario Geografico Fisico della Toscana” by Emanuele Repetti

BADIA DI MONTE MURO is close to the so-called Badiaccia, in the gap between the mountains that stand west of the upper Arno valley and the sources of the Greve, Pesa and Cesto rivers, in the parish of Santa Maria Novella del Chianti. Its jurisdiction lies 5 miles north of Radda, diocese of Fiesole, compartment of Florence.
Originally there were two Camaldolese monasteries on the side of mount Muro, in proximity of the dilapidated fort of Monte Domini. One, dedicated to Saint Michael, now called Badiaccia, the other, dedicated to Saint Peter, is presently the priory of Montemuro, in the parish of Santa Maria Novella in Chianti.
The first was called Badia Vecchia in Pope Honorius’ III bull, sent on March 7th, 1125, to the Camaldolese congregation, also acting as an abbey, and the second, Sant’Angelo alla Badia Vecchia, along with its properties and jurisdiction.
The same privileges were granted by the popes Innocent II (1136), Lucius III (1184), Innocent III (1198), and the emperors Otto IV (1209) and Charles IV (1355).
Both were reclaimed from the famous Musciatto Franzesi of Staggia by the Chief Camaldolese Prior, following a legal proceeding started by the Bardi mercantile group against the Abbot of Montemuro. The municipality of Florence, in the person of Cardinal Arnoldo, Apostolic delegate, pronounced the sentence on October 8th, 1310. (ANNAL. CAMALD.)
As a consequence, in 1343, the Camaldolese Order gave instructions to take the properties from Niccolò Franzesi, heir and brother of Musciatto, which was partially done in 1355.
In 1513, following a brief by Leo X, the abbey of Monte Muro came under the jurisdiction of San Benedetto, belonging to the same congregation, by the ramparts of Florence.
But, as San Benedetto was razed during the siege of Florence in 1529, it was later joined to the monastery of Angioli, in Florence, until 1819. -See Monte Muro (S. Pietro a). - The parish of Badia di S. Pietro a Monte Muro counts 136 inhabitants.


Thus said an ancient legend…

The diocese of Fiesole, at the end of the 13th century, comprised 337 parishes, in addition to its cathedral. There were then 17 monasteries, (12 of monks and 5 of nuns). The Hermitage of Vallombrosa, the abbeys of Passignano, Coltibuono, Monte Scalari, Tagliafuni and Soffena, were all inhabited by the Vallombrosan monks. The abbeys of Fiesole, San Gaudenzio in Alpe, and the hermitage of Gastra were occupied by the Cassinians, the abbey of Montemuro and the priories of Tosina and Pietrafitta by the Camaldolese. The Benedictine nuns were in Majano, Rosano and Saint Ellero, while the Camaldolese nuns lived in Pratovecchio and Poppiena sopra Stia, in the Casentino.

The generous stipends and benefits granted to the priests of Santa Maria Novella in Chianti often filled the coffers of those who little cared for the local peasantry. Among them were Cardinal Giovanni Colonna, friend and patron of the poet Francesco Petrarca. His successor, Jacopo di Pazzino de’ Pazzi, also preceded Lotteringo, depicted in an illustrated seal by Manni. (Sigilli Ant. T. X num 8)
The same parish, in 1299, included the eight following churches: 1. S. Lorenzo alla Volpaja, standing; 2. S. Cassiano (lost); 3. S. Donato a Lamole, still a parish; 4. S. Pietro a Buscialla, standing; 5. S. Salvatore in Albola, standing; 6. S. Andrea a Casole, standing; 7. S. Martino a Monte Rinaldi (now annexed to S. Pietro alle Stinche in the parish of Panzano); 8. S. Michele a Colle Petroso, standing.
An additional church, S. Michele alla Badia Vecchia, now called the “Badiaccia”, belonged to the same parish, but was subsequently aggregated by Pope Honorius III to S. Pietro a Montemuro abbey. There, one century later, the Congregation of the Girolamini Augustinians was founded by Friar Bartolommeo di Bonone Pistojese. He, along with other outcasts from Siena, decided to retire from worldly matters. Having obtained from the lords of Monte Rinaldi the land around Monte Muro in the vicinity of Albola in Chianti, he, and successively in 1320 Pietro Corsini of San Gimignano, in 1324 Bernardo Lippi of Florence, in 1325 Paolo Bindi and Giovanni Daddi from Siena, Benedetto di Maestro Tedaldo of Florence, Antonio Lapi of San Gimignano and others later on, led a reclusive and contemplative life.
From there, in 1334, Bartolommeo went on to build the cloister of Campora, on the Colombaja knoll, near Florence, authorized by Cardinal Orsini, papal legate. (CARD. QUIRINI, Cronaca della Campora) See CAMPORA di COLOMBAJA.


E.Repetti, Dizionario geografico, fisico, storico del Granducato di Toscana, Firenze, 1833-1846
E. Repetti, Dizionario corografico-universale dell'Italia sistematicamente suddiviso secondo l'attuale partizione politica d'ogni singolo stato italiano, vol. III, Granducato di Toscana, Editore Civelli, Milano, 1855
A.Zuccagni Orlandini, Indicatore topografico della Toscana Granducale, Tipografia Polverini, Firenze, 1857
Notizie storiche sui principali luoghi del Chianti: Radda, Castellina, Gaiole, Brolio, di A. Casabianca, Firenze, 1941
La pieve di santa Maria Novella in Chianti, di I. Moretti - R. Stopani, Firenze, 1971
Le strade del Chianti Gallo Nero, di G. Brachetti Montorselli- I. Moretti e R. Stopani, Bonechi editore, Firenze, 1984

Robert Davidson: "Storia di Firenze vol 4 pag. 484