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Church of Santa Croce

What to see in Vinci, Firenze, Tuscany


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The church of Santa Croce, in existence since the 12th century, when the de Vincio chapel is mentioned in the documents of the bishopric of Pistoia, is the parish church of Vinci that we see today in neo-Renaissance style, after the restoration work carried out in the mid-20th century.

The ancient castle church of Santa Croce, at the time of Leonardo, was the parish church of the community of Vinci to which Leonardo's family belonged, living in the house in the castle hamlet.
It is thanks to the Reverend Emil Möller that a document was found which precisely dates the birth of the genius. The document was found in 1931 in the State Archives in Florence, written by his grandfather Antonio on the last page of a notarial protocol belonging to his father, ser Piero di Guido. The note reads: "Nachue un mio nipote, figliuolo di ser Piero mio figliuolo a dì 15 d'aprile in sabato, a ore 3 di notte. His name was Lionardo. Baptized by the priest Piero di Bartolomeo da Vinci, [...]".

The baptism most probably took place in the church of Santa Croce, which still preserves the ancient baptismal font, which has survived the transformations that completely changed the late-medieval church at the time. The font is now preserved in an evocative octagonal space inside the church, designed by Ugo Giulio Arata on the occasion of Leonardo's celebrations in 1952 and recently enriched with works of metal alloy sculpture by the artist Cecco Bonanotte, inspired by the themes of Salvation. It is here that the parish priest Piero di Bartolomeo Cecchi is believed to have baptised the newborn Leonardo da Vinci on 16th April 1452, as can be read on the stone memorial affixed to the wall of the 'new baptistery', which bears the exact text of the annotation by Antonio da Vinci discovered by Emil Möller.

LEONARDO'S BAPTISM by Cecco Bonanotte
In the Church of Santa Croce, where Leonardo was baptised, the chapel that still preserves the 15th-century baptismal font houses the sculptural cycle dedicated to the History of Salvation, created in 2010. The sculptures that make up the cycle are characterised by a sense of refined lightness and particular chromatic sensitivity.
lightness and particular chromatic sensitivity that Bonanotte manages to instil in his creations. In the four niches opening onto the walls of the baptistery are works dealing with the themes of the Creation, the Annunciation, the Last Supper and the Passion, while the sculpture of the Apocalypse descends from a central vault.

  • Religious location

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