The church of San Pietro in Luco di Mugello
LUCO DI MUGELLO (BORGO SAN LORENZO) – It is the year 1086 when in the town of Luco the Blessed Rodolfo Falcucci, prior of Camaldoli, founded a Camaldolese female monastery near a land donated to his order by Gotidio and his bride Cunizza, lord and lady of the place. Since then, the monastery grew almost steadily of importance and wealth, to welcome within its walls the young people belonging to the flower of the Florentine aristocracy. In 1220 the church, named after the entire monastic complex to which it belonged, to the apostle Peter, was solemnly consecrated, but it was not until 1473 that the monastery in Luco had a radical refurbishment that ended in 1476, and gave the complex a new Renaissance “garment”; that date is readable on the keystone decorated with the image of Peter walled in one of the halls of access to the monastery. The anonymous architect author of the enlargement, recently recognized in a valid student of Giuliano da Sangallo, created the elegant and solemn cloister, perhaps even at the suggestion of Lorenzo dei Medici himself “il Magnifico”: whose agile columns that support the airy arches , are concluded by classical Ionic capitals, characteristic of much of the Florentine sacred architecture of the period, the splendid open gallery open to the garden, with columns with magnificent composite capitals, the refectory and the chapter hall, as well as other areas of passage or service. Besides, the church was also enlarged and equipped inside a classical forum with pilasters and cornices with ovules, while the façade was enriched with a beautiful lunette portal. Finally, the monastic garden was equipped with a series of small oratories, which probably constituted a real itinerary of prayer. Further interventions were carried out in the following centuries, such as the construction, outside the monastic enclosure, of the hexagonal chapel called the “Divina Pastora”, dating back to 1583. Moreover, in the seventeenth century, the church underwent noteworthy renovations, including an impressive choir for the nuns, and the construction of the monumental high altar. Meanwhile, the monastery of Luco, whose church had also assumed the parochial title of the local community, was enriched with furniture and goods. In 1523 the church lived one of its moments of greater glory when it had the opportunity to host Andrea del Sarto, the “painter without errors”, who was a fugitive from the epidemic of the plague that raged in Florence: he left some essential works. Subsequently, Vasari also made for the internal choir of the nuns a painting depicting the Crucifixion with the Virgin, St. John and Mary Magdalene, a work today missing.
In 1808 the monastery was suppressed by the French government and the Camaldolese nuns were definitively removed, after almost eight centuries. Subsequent events led to the transformation of the premises of the monastery to the Mugello hospital (the function that took place from 1871 to 1989), while the rooms facing the church and its courtyard were assigned to the use of the parish. The church has also been interested in an extensive and drastic refurbishment dating back to the years 1930-32.