A strategic place - a panoramic terrace
In 1203-4 the Florentine Republic decided to construct a fortification on the hill that dominates the confluence of the river Arno and the river Elsa. This rock was the first nucleus from which the town of Montelupo developed.
In 1270 the in the Rocca area the church of San Giovanni Evangelista was built, the patron saint of the town. To this first building a second higher one was added in the 16th century, provided with two side chapels used as a short transept.
The small abse inside the tower still preserves the frescoes by the Florentine painter Corso di Buono (Christ among the Cherubs and the miracle of Saint John the Evangelist) whereas in the entrance are two small gothic temples with frescoes by Piero di Chellino (Stories of San Nicola) painted over a previous wall decoration (matching the one by Corso).
The church subsequently lost its role as parish and today rarely serves as a church.
The walk up the steep narrow road which from the town leads to the Rocca is certainly worthwhile. Its summit overlooks the entire valley to the west of which, at sunset, the jagged profile of the Apuane Alps can be seen.
In the area, archaeological excavations have also taken place which have brought to light materials from the Middle Ages.
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