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First an Etruscan and then a Roman settlement, the village and its development was influenced by the castle built over the gorge created by the Ciuffenna rivulet. Worth visiting is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta which possesses a triptych by Bicci di Lorenzo of the Madonna and Saints, and also the “Museo Venturino Venturi” in the Palazzo Comunale where there are drawings and sculptures by Venturi, who was born here in 1918 and who died in 2002.
The next village along the road is MONTEMARCIANO, the ancient seat of a hospital under the patronage of the Florentine family of Pazzi. There are the ruins of a castle destroyed by the Florentines in 1288 and the parish church of St Lucia and St Apollinare where the 13th-century architrave from the original building is still visible. A short distance away from the houses is the Oratorio della Madonna delle Grazie started in 1522 and finished in 1536. Outside, there is a 17th-century portico and, inside, the Madonna Enthroned between St Michael and St John Baptist once thought to be by Masaccio, but perhaps by Francesco d’Antonio from around 1420.
The Strada dei Sette Ponti continues now to CASTELFRANCO DI SOPRA, one of the so-called terre nuove or “new lands” of Florence. It was founded in 1299 on the remains of the Castello di Soffena and its design has traditionally been ascribed to Arnolfo di Cambio. The village with its chessboard layout still retains parts of its defensive walls and towers, and two of the original access gateways. Inside the walls is the Chiesa di San Tommaso, which dates back to the year 1000. In the 15th century it was given a pronaos, or outside portico, and it was enlarged during the 18th century.
Not far outside the walls stands the Badia, or Abbey, of San Salvatore a Soffena, constructed in the 14th century. Laid out in the form of a Greek cross, it possesses frescoes painted by Bicci di Lorenzo, Episodes in the Life of St John Gualberto, and by Paolo Schiavo, a Madonna and Child between St Peter and St Francis and also a Pietà in the lunette. On the right of the abbey stands the ancient monastery built during the 14th century by the monks from Vallombrosa on the remains of an 11th-century fortified structure. It was reconstructed during the 15th century and, after the suppression of the religious orders by Grand Duke Leopold of Florence, was finally acquired by the State and restored. There is rather lovely little cloister and columns inside the monastery.
From Castelfranco, the road leads to PIAN DI SCÒ, a village nestling beside the rivulet Resco, from which perhaps its name is derived. It was a flourishing agricultural centre during the period of the Grand Duchy. Close to the Poggio della Regina, there are the remains of the majestic castle of the Counts of the Guidi family, from between the 10th and the 13th centuries. You should also see the Romanesque Pieve di Santa Maria from whose recently restored churchyard there is a wonderful view over woodlands and hillsides covered with vineyards and olive trees. Documents attest the presence here of this church with its impressive bell tower from 1008. The façade is simple with two blind arches and two single-light windows. The nave is separated from the two aisles by columns with lovely, decorated capitals, and you can see a fresco of the Madonna and Child by Paolo Schiavo.

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