Bibbiena was an important Etruscan town then a Medieval castle whose Torre dei Tarlati and the Porta dei Fabbri still exist.
It was an important Etruscan town then a Medieval castle whose Torre dei Tarlati and the Porta dei Fabbri still exist. In the town centre are fine buildings: Palazzo Mazzoleni, Palazzo Niccolini and Palazzo Dovizi, built by cardinal Bernardo Dovizi, born in Bibbiena, secretary to Cardinal Giovanni de'Medici (later Pope Leone X). Among the religious buildings are the church of San Lorenzo which contains glazed teracotta by the Della Robbia school, the rather Rococo Oratorio di San Francesco, the Pieve di Sant'Ippolito, once the chapel of the Tarlati castle, and the Santuario di Santa Maria del Sasso, one of the most important Renaissance buildings in the Casentino. A special event is the Rievocazione della Mea (last Sunday of Carnival and Shrove Tuesday).
Martellini family has got two mansions: the first one, restored in this century, is in Rome square and on its wall the family's emblem is still visible: two hammers crossed over a fifteenth century portal. The second one is in Cappucci street, here we see Martellini's coat of arms which is a sixteenth arm next to that of the Montinis, the present owners, made up of a mountain with three stars. In the palace entrance there is the only surviving fresco dating back to late eighteenth century. Finally, an Italian style garden, located behind the mansion is noteworthy.
This mansion is in Cappucci street near Martellinis'. There is a characteristical small cloister with a stair ushering you into remarkable rooms, like a beautiful salon.
SAINT LAWRENCE CHURCH and CLOISTER
The former convent of San Lorenzo in Bibbiena is a currently not used building complex and that the property wishes to alienate. The Ministry for the Cultural Assets and Activities concurs the sale of the whole building, without possibility of division of the same one.
The Municipality of Bibbiena means to promote the interest of Italian or foreign Institutions and Universities for the use of the former convent of San Lorenzo like a center for stages and programs of study, especially regarding artistic and humanistic disciplines. The center can comprise spaces for didactic activities, laboratories, lodging and catering.
It is possible to find the availability of ulterior spaces inside some buildings of the Historical Center of Bibbiena in order eventually to upgrade the availability of the former convent of San Lorenzo .
Bibbiena is a small and safe Tuscany town of approximately 11.000 inhabitants with numerous cultural activities and an important artistic tradition developed from the Middle Ages and from the blooming of architecture of eighteenth century. Bibbiena is the main center of the Casentino, a valley of valuable landscape, nature and history, in a wooded mount frame, Middle Age castles, Romanesque Pievi , crossed by the first reach of the Arno river (the river of Florence and Pisa). Not to neglect the gastronomica tradition, folklore and of handicraft production that characterizes Bibbiena and the whole Casentino. In this atmosphere, situated to short distance from Florence, Arezzo and Siena, the students in humanistic disciplines can join the profitable study to tight contact with historical-artistic testimoniances of very high value, and share the lifestyle of a typical Italian community.
SANTA MARIA DEL SASSO SANCTUARY
At one kilometre from Bibbiena there is S. Maria del Sasso Sanctuary, an architectural structure of considerable historical, artistic and religious value. It represents the only Renaissance example in Casentino, actually proclaimed national monument in 1899. The place takes its name from a big boulder on which, in 1347, the Virgin appeared to a little girl called Caterina. Originally it was a simple pilgrims hostel, but in 1495, thanks to father Girolamo Savonarola, it turned into a Monastery. The new church was then consacrated in 1507. Next to the main entrance there is a bell tower which keeps an ancient bell dating from 1362. The Sanctuary is in Renaissance style with a simple façade and an arcade on the right. In the portal lunette there is a 1486 fresco representing Saints Dominick and Peter the martyr. Inner premises are in Latin cross with a cupola and an apsis chorus. In the centre of the Basilica you find an small Corinthian temple built by Bartolomeo Bozzolini from Fiesole which contains a Madonna del Sasso fresco by Bicci di Lorenzo. Moreover, you can enjoy many works by Jacopo Ligozzi, Giovanni del Brina, Brother Paolino from Pistoia and some interesting Della Robbia's. There still survive a very attractive VIth century cloister, the only example of this kind in Casentino, with arcs and capitals none like each other, a beautiful well dating back to 1502-04 and many frescoes about the miracle of "Madonna del Buio", unfortunately deteriorated by time.
Dovizi Theatre was built in 1842 by the "Laborious Accademy" that had as maxim an Horatian verse: "omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci", following architect Niccolò Matas plan who was also the designer of neighbouring San Franci's Oratory façade, of Saint Cross Church in Florence and of the Napoleonic Museum pavilions of Portoferraio.
"The Dovizi" has nineteenth-century typical features, some neoclassical references and baroque friezes. Incidentally it is hidden among 16th and 17th centuries mansions of the historical center.
Dovizi Theatre is U-shaped inside, it has got a stage parallel to road level and three boxes series which deeply changed during the 60-70's, when the theatre was transformed to cinema; it has also two small arcades construction, prosceniums and dressing rooms removal. The theatre, with recent restoration, has regained its original wooden covering, a ceiling decorated with a soft sky, three boxes series, a trellis and a gallery. In particular, recovering its past plastic and baroque liveliness, "the Dovizi" has paid homage to Galli from Bibbiena natural bent standing a point of reference in theatrical architecture all through the XVIIth and the XVIIIth centuries. Finally, its façade has been left unchanged, excepting for a cartouche addition surmounting the central entrance arch.