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S. Biagio di Pierle:
An Example of Rural Romanesque


[image ALT: A small 1‑story building of small stone blocks, with a pitched tile roof, seen from the side. It is a view of the church of S. Biagio in Pierle, Tuscany (central Italy).]

The W side of S. Biagio, with the castle of Pierle in the background.

This church dates to the eleventh century, a time when the village of Pierle must not have been much bigger, but when it was relatively more important in the area: to which the castle, frankly, is a better witness. Though S. Biagio's masonry is of irregular blocks set in mortar, a cheaper method of construction than the squared blocks often seen in later churches, and though we see no ornamental carving, the structure is well built — the windows for example have been carefully set — and the proportions are harmonious.

I read on other websites that S. Biagio was "rebuilt" in 1505, but have not seen the source for the statement; this leaves us temporarily free to believe that whatever was done in the early 16c was not a radical rebuilding but a restoration: at any rate, there is no trace of the Gothic or Renaissance age in what you see, except just maybe something about the open belfry (in Italian: campanile a vela) and even there I'm not convinced.


[image ALT: A low single-story Romanesque church of irregular courses of small stone masonry with a tile roof pitched at about 30 degrees and a flat panel-type belfry of the kind known as a 'campanile a vela' with two arches under which hang the bells. It sits in a small hollow of grass framed by five pine trees, against a backdrop of tall hills, and we are seeing it from the rear, which forms a typical shell-shaped apse. It is a view of the church of S. Biagio in Pierle, Tuscany (central Italy).]

The rounded apse and arched belfry are characteristic of the period.

For a slightly different view, see my diary; and for a much more different view, pulled back to show the castle and some of the village, see the Arezzo province orientation page.


[image ALT: A small 1‑story building of small stone blocks, with a pitched tile roof, seen from the side. It is a view of the church of S. Biagio in Pierle, Tuscany (central Italy).]
The façade partly hidden behind its enclosure wall. I have not seen the inside of the church.

Page updated: 23 May 05