The most interesting monument of the city, although successive restorations and remodellings have taken away some of its original splendour, the cathedral is dedicated to St. Lawrence, patron of Grosseto.
It is built on the remains of the Church of S. Maria, which stood on this site in 1138 at the time of bishop Rolando. The work began around 1190, under bishop Gualfredo; it was interrupted several times, mainly due to the wars with Siena.
Although partly restored in the 16th century by Lari, the façade still echoes the Romanesque style - mainly in the gallery and the rose window, which bears decorative motives close to Rustichini's hand. The symbols of the four Evangelists situated in the inferior cornice are by Rustichini; the symbol of St. John has been replaced by a bearded saint, while the original is now located on the first pilaster on the South side.
The slender gothic windows, the pilasters and the door on the South side are also by Rustichini. The jambs of the door are decorated with pannels of an elegant and vigorous style, and represent scenes of Medieval life. On the lintel is a sculptured figure of Christ surrounded by the Evangelists.
The group located in the tympanum of the side door is a 1897 addition by the Sienese sculptor Maccari; it was inspired from a work by Giovanni D'Agostino. A Roman pillar topped by a composite corinthian capital stands at the right corner of the façade; it was used in the Middle Ages for the posting of announcements.
The church has a Latin cross plan, according to the Romanesque style. The pillars, six per side, divide the space into three naves. The central nave ends in a semi-circular apse. Light comes in through a series of windows situated above the ceiling of the aisles, from the large rose window in the façade and from two 15th-century stained glass windows by Girolamo di Benvenuto.
The stoup located in the first bay on the left is a beautiful work of art. It was donated by the craftsman Girolamo de' Vantaggioli in 1506 and is the work of an anonymous Sienese sculptor, who may also be the artist of the stoup known as the Federighi in Siena's cathedral.
The triangular base is ornated with three putti alternated with three coats of arms - those of Grosseto, of theWork of the Cathedral, and of the donor; it supports a stand on which three putti ride three dolphins; the putti hold the bowl, ornated on the outside with birds and flower and fruit garlands, and on the inside with crabs, frogs and fish. Halfway up the stand is an inscription indicating the year in which the work was made.
In the second bay to the left stands the octagonal baptismal font, adorned with festoons; engraved on the pedestal are the arms of the Work of the Cathedral, of Grosseto, of Siena and of the donor, Salvatore di Lemmo di Castellammare, who payed for the realization of the font in 1470.
The upper part is a small octagonal temple with seven niches occupied by saints. On top of the cupola, shaped with palms and stylized acanthus, stands the figure of St. John the Baptist. The work is attributed to Antonio Ghini.
The altar dedicated to Madonna delle Grazie (1474) is by the same artist. The beautiful Annunciation in the lunette, as well as other decorative motives of the altar, especially the cornice adorned with little angels, reveals the influence of Andrea Della Robbia.
The high altar, of inlaid marble, is from the Late Renaissance. On the right pilaster is a coloured stucco (15th century) in the Sienese School manner, representing the Holy Mother and Child. A painting by Rustici can be seen in the apse, S. Charles Borromeo and S. Lawrence adoring the Name of Jesus.
In the right arm of the transept stands a modern altar, the work of the sculptors Jardella and Martinelli. In the lunette is a figure of Jesus in the Garden of Ghetsemane.
The expressive crucifix (15th century) from the Sienese School, was donated by the deacon Giuliano Cesarini, bishop of Grosseto in 1439. In the antesacristy is a 16th century marble ciborium from Castiglione della Pescaia.
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