Saints Pietro and Paolo
Founded by a Lombard noble as his personal church, it became one of the major parish churches of Garfagnana in the 10th century. Of its medieval past there remains a stone slab sculpted with apotropaic figures.

Place

Careggine

Historical Information

Founded in the 8th century by Pertuald, an important figure of the Lombard aristocracy who donated it to the Cathedral of Lucca in 778, the church received the title of Parish Church in 995. It is located in the north of the diocese, on the border with the diocese of Luni. It was possibly originally at the centre of a larger area, with surrounding subsidiary churches, that later became part of the diocese of Luni. It is likely that its past importance was related to the power of the ruling family of Careggine, whose castle faces the church. Notably, still in 1388, children born in Poggio were taken there for baptism – as in keeping to old traditions of dependence on the mother church - even if documents from 1260 attribute it with only one dependent church, that of the hospital of Isola Santa, on the road that joined north Versilia to Garfagnana. It shared in the general decline of the entire area during the 14th century, between wars and pestilence, remaining without a parish priest for some time. In 1550, it was the place of reconciliation between supporters of the ducal family of Este and the French party against the partisans of Lucca who had caused more than 45 deaths in the small town over few years. In 1822, it was transferred, together with the other parishes of Este Garfagnana, to the newly instituted diocese of Massa, returning to the diocese of Lucca only in 1992. The church, greatly modified in the late 16th century with a complete reassembly of the paraments and inversion of the orientation, is today preceded by a small 18th century portico. The only visible signs of its medieval past are remains of the paraments and scattered fragments of sculpture: a stone slab built into the right hand wall next to the bell tower and three small tiles decorated with intersecting circles on the left. On the stone slab there are two human figures, one male and one female – the first with genitalia – both with round faces, large ears and big shoes, depicted with legs wide apart with feet facing out. This sculpture, obscure to interpretation (the man is holding a lance and the woman’s hand) forms part of a large series of similar representations found throughout the Apennines, for which scholars have proposed an apotropaic meaning and a chronology around the 10th-11th century. In the diocese of Lucca there are some similarities with the lunette of the bell tower of Granaiola and the lateral architrave of Brancoli. The reconstruction of the 16th century is more conspicuous: the stone altars, the statue of S. Antonio Abate and the large gilt wooden altarpiece recorded as seen by Bishop Guidiccioni during the 1621 "Visit" are still in place.

Information

Address: Via del Campanile, 55030 Careggine (LU)
Foundation: VIII century
Telephone: +39 351 533 1617
District/Location: Careggine
District: Garfagnana

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