Pro Loco Sovicille
Pieve di Ponte allo Spino
The present church of S. Giovanni di Ponte allo Spino was once parish of Sovicille dedicated to S. Maria. Its first mention dates back to 1116, when Rodolfo, Presbitero et Plebano of the former Pieve de Suvicille, rented a piece of land from Gregorio, provost of the rectory of S. Maria in Siena. Its history, however, is probably much older, as evidenced by some early medieval decorations carved on stones reused in the building's facade. In addition, the recent discovery in the courtyard of the church, of Roman mosaics of the first century A.D., makes it likely, that here there was one of the first baptismal fonts of Siena’s territory. In this church, in 1178 Tedice Ugolino, Count of Frosini, submitted to the municipality of Siena. A Papal Document informs us that in 1189 it belonged to the diocese of Siena.At the end of the thirteenth century, the people of the parish, together with those of some small surrounding settlements were formed in common, breaking away from the already existing town of Sovicille; but in 1366 the Pieve’s hamlet was dissolved and re-united with that of Sovicille. This church is considered one of the most interesting of its kind, not only in the countryside of Siena, but in the whole of Tuscany. It offers a basilican plant with three naves divided by four crossings, whose arches are supported by piers and ending with three apses. The ceilings offer vaults and barrel shaped vaults. The capitals are carved with geometric and human figures. On the facade above the portal, there is a bass relief of a dragon and a human figure with an animal on a leash, it is divided by the only window. The bell tower was built before the actual church and was included only during the enlargement in medieval times. On the right hand side the 'scarpa' base is to be noticed because it is surmounted by a meridian. A lancet window opens on the first floor of the tower and a mullioned window on the second floor; the third floor, occupied by the belfry, appears as the result of a more recent remake. In the courtyard, to the right of the church, you can admire the remains of a small cloister and a palace featuring elegant windows of the fourteenth century, which has long hosted the bishops of Siena during the summer season.

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