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HISTORY

When Florence expanded outside the third city wall, several flourishing new streets were built, the so-called borghi: one of them, Borgo San Jacopo, is located in Oltrarno and has mantained its mediaeval structure to our day.

Borgo San Jacopo is located between two bridges: Ponte Vecchio to the east and Ponte a Santa Trinita to the west. The first evidence of this street date back to the end of the 12th Century, although already in 1050 a hospital for the pilgrims on the way to Rome had already been built on the location that today lies between the east end of the street and Ponte Vecchio.

At the beginning of 13th Century some defensive structures were built to protect this thriving part of Florence: a palisade was erected, which later evolved to a stone wall, and several important families built their fortified homes here, some of which still stand. Two religious buildings are also located in Borgo San Jacopo: the church of San Jacopo Soprarno, founded in the 10th Century, which in May 2006 became the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Jacob Apostle, and the former rooms of the Compagnia di San Jacopo, an association established for the Jubilee of 1300 in order to provide assistance to the pilgrims.

At the end of the street toward Ponte a Santa Trinita there is Palazzo Frescobaldi, the struictures of which include sections built in different periods, and the fountain of Buontalenti (17th Century).

Borgo San Jacopo was almost completely destroyed by German mines in 1944: after the war the street was rebuilt, by restoring the ancient towers (where possible) and adding modern buildings whose colours and materials were inspired to those of the unrecoverably destroyed buildings.

Our Churcfh of San Jacopo Apostle boasts elements from different periods and styles - from Romanesque to Baroque.

The Romanesque church with three naves dates back to 12th Century, but was restructured several times and its original form has been deeply alterated: the façade is characterized by an arcade dating to the original church, although it was enhanced in 1580 with elements from the Church of San Donato in Scopeto, demolished in 1529 during the construction of fortifications. The bell-tower we see today was built in 1660 by Gherardo Silvani.

The interior was modified in the 18th Century, when the Ridolfi Chapel was demolished with its dome built by Brunelleschi (perhaps it was a scaled-down demonstrative example of the famous Dome of the Cathedral, as Vasari says).

In the front stand pronounced columns and the facade is adorned with animal heads. Inside the church we find eleven side chapels enriched by gilded stuccos; the frescoes on the vault are a work of Vincenzo Meucci; those in the presbytery (Glory of San Jacopo) and behind the main altar were painted by Matteo Bonechi. At the side altars, Paintings by various Florentine artists from 17th-18th Century.

(www.firenze-oltrarno.net)

 


 


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