Remarkable Romanesque

It’s well worth taking a look at Coreglia Antelminelli’s oldest church. It’s the first one you come across when entering this hilltop town, one of the group consisting of “I più bei borghi d’Italia” (the most beautiful towns/villages in Italy).

San Martino dates back to the ninth century but was expanded during the following two centuries thus creating its present asymmetric appearance.

The church consists of a nave with two aisles and an apse.

The oldest part is the fine apse, typical of the international Romanesque style with its round arches, and best appreciated from the outside:

The fine columns separating the nave from the aisle have quite dainty capitals.

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The façade was restored during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries while the campanile, replacing a thirteenth century original, was only erected between 1847 and 1856.

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For me the most attractive feature of the church is the delightful sixteenth century fresco decorating the apse. I particularly enjoy the angelic host playing a variety of mainly plucked and bowed musical instruments including baroque guitar, portative organ and viola da gamba.

The church is sometimes the venue for interesting events and concerts. We remember some time ago attending a concert there which was introduced by that doyen of presenters, Debora Pioli.

I always feel that the Romanesque style is the purest manifestation of western European religious architecture. It’s the last truly international style to have permeated Europe. The gothic which succeeded it for example, never quite had a genuinely convincing foothold in Italy except for a few examples such as Milan cathedral.

Romanesque religious buildings proliferate in Italy and there’s brilliant facebook page on them at which lists and constantly updates that list.

See how many Romanesque buildings you can find in our part of the world. Here are a few I’ve photographed over the years. How many can you recognize?

Of course, several of these buildings have been modified, especially during the eighteenth century, by heightening the nave, by enlarging windows and by  ‘baroquizing’ the interior. But when one finds an untouched Romanesque church it’s pure pleasure. Here’s one of my favourites: San Martino in Greppo above the main road to Lucca between Diecimo and Valdottavo:

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Music Events Around Borgo a Mozzano in October


The October programme of “Incontri Musicali a Teatro – i luoghi del bello e della cultura” returns. The event, now in its sixth year, will take place in the beautiful setting of the Teatro Comunale “Colombo” in Valdottavo, in other beautiful rooms at Borgo a Mozzano, such as the Public Library in Palazzo Santini and the Church of St. Ilario di Oneta, so as to allow the public to rediscover some beautiful places in that area. The seven concerts will range from early music to jazz to contemporary music. The season is organized by the ‘Salotti’ Municipal School of Music of Borgo a Mozzano with the sponsorship of the City of Borgo a Mozzano and the Province of Lucca, with the collaboration of the Civic Schools of Music of Barga and Castelnuovo Garfagnana and Valdottavo’s Teatro Colombo, under the artistic direction of Giacomo Brunini.

Sunday, October 18th, 2015 – 5:30 pm, at the Teatro “Colombo” Valdottavo there’s a concert entitled “Flûtes en France” with the participation of the “Toujours Ensemble” Quartet of Flutes consisting of Mariacarla Cantamessa, Antonio Barsanti, Lorenzo Del Grande Roberto Aronne. The program includes music by Debussy, Bozza, Berthomieu and Guiot.

Tickets: Full € 8; 5 euro reduced for students and over 60; 2 € for members and students of music schools of Borgo a Mozzano, Barga and Castelnuovo Garfagnana.

Info & tickets:

Cell. 3498496612 (artistic director).



Sunday, October 25th, 2015 – 5:30 pm at the Teatro Comunale “Colombo” in Valdottavo there’s a concert, “Circle Song”, with singer Lorenzo Sansoni accompanied by the workshop participants of “Singing Voice” which will be held at the Teatro “Colombo” before the concert.


Sunday, November 15, 2015 – 5:30 pm at the Teatro Comunale “Colombo” Valdottavo there’s a concert entitled “Por una Cabeza” with Piero Gaddi, piano and Fabrizio Desideri, clarinet and saxophone.



Sunday, November 22, 2015 – 5:30 pm at Borgo a Mozzano’s Municipal Library there’s a chamber music concert with a trio consisting of Laura Sarti, Violin, Giueppe Cecchin, Cello and Dario Atzori, Guitar. The program includes music by De Fossa.


Sunday, December 13, 2015 – 5:30 PM at the Municipal Library of Borgo a Mozzano there’s a concert entitled “New music for 12 strings” with the Atzori – Brunini Guitar Duo. On this occasion “Backlit”, the latest CD by the guitar duo, will be presented. The program includes music by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Deraco, D’Angelo, Festa, Spinosa, Bombardelli, The Beatles / L. Brouwer.