The Church of San Vivaldo
The Church of San Vivaldo is located where once there was the chestnut tree where the 1 st of may of 1320 Vivaldo Stricchi was founded died, and that today it correspond at the chapel where is the Holy urn with his reliquary.
Today, what we can still admire the result of an enlargement of the original church, made between 1326 and 1355 and consecrated the 30 November 1416 (or 1410) by the Franciscan Bishop Fra' Antonio da Prato.
Originally, in that place there were another small church called "Santa Maria a Camporena" (that was a part of the community of Iano, a small village that today is part of the municipality of Montaione on the road from San Vivaldo to Iano) that fall into decay after the building of the new church.
Lateral chapels are probably dated back to the 15th century as an oratory of the Tertiary Franciscan Order with only two hermits for staff, while in the 16 th century succeeded a small community of the First Franciscan Order member of the branch of " Osservanza".The church as the Franciscan tradition has a characteristic open gallery in front of the entrance with a large patio. On the right in correspondence of the Chapel of San Vivaldo there are three statues of "Della Robbia" school representing Saint Antonio abbot (the holy hermit par excellence), Saint Lino Pope (patron saint of Volterra) and Saint Rocco (protector from the plague, as in 1504 the area was at risk of plague).
Entering the church, the first chapel is the one of San Vivaldo, we can observe the reliquary and the Holy urn of 15 th century, with the body carried back by Montaione's people in 1906. Above the altar of Nativity,in a glass-ceramic of Benedetto Buglioni (1459/1521), is represented Santa Caterina d'Alessandria and San Vivaldo. In the same chapel, is possible to admire a Renaissance painting of Raffaellino del Garbo that represent the Virgin in Glory surrounded by Saint John the Baptiste, Saint Girolamo, Saint Francisco and Saint Vivaldo.
The Saint Sebastiano in terracotta (17 th century) was located at first above the alcove of the left altar. Even if with later works, all the church decoration has a Franciscan's theme; in this case it has been dedicated to S. Margherita da Cortona, a mistic Franciscan tertiary who loved the Passion of Christ.
The gravestone Bardi is now on the left side and is dated back to 1580. The presbytery and the mayor altar has been remake in marble in 1751. In the half of the church is possible to enter in a wide chapel, that has been restored during the centenary of San Francisco, is dated back to the 14 th century and correspond at the ancient church of Santa Maria a Camporena.
At the same time it has been decorated the dome with "Apoteosi dell'Ordine Francescano"; in the right side is possible to admire S. Chiara with the Blessed Sacrament that scaring away the Saracen by the Sancuary of San Damiano. In the left side there is San Damiano (the anthologist friar of the "Legenda Francescana").
In 1763 has been rebuilt the chant's roof; above the chant the is a precious organ of 1739 restored with proceeds of the sold of an ancient cypress of the wood.
Above the mayor altar there is a wooden Crucifix made by an unknown sculpture. The organ, dated back to 1736was made by Francesco Domenico Calcioli from Lucca, and after a restoration in 1988 it has restarted to play after 60 years of silence. The choir where the organ is situated is dated back to the 18 th century.
In the sacristy, which have the entrance by the door at left of the mayor altar, there is a big bench in wood dated back to 1617. On the left hand of the church there is a wide cloister with arches, now walled-up, from where is possible to get access to the refectory with a coat of arms of "Della Robbia" school.