Church of St. Agatha in Arfoli

The Church of Sant’Agata in Arfoli is a jewel of history and art located in the town of Reggello. Tradition has it that it was built by Countess Matilda of Canossa, making it one of the oldest in the Fiesole diocese. Some researchers speculate that the foundation of the church dates back to the period of the Goths, although its first documented mention is from 1230.

A Historical Complex
The St. Agatha complex includes the church, bell tower, cloister and rectory. In the late 1960s, the complex underwent significant restoration work, during which the Romanesque facade was freed from a Renaissance forepart added in 1928. Under the portico, once adorned with frescoes depicting scenes from the life of St. Agatha, now placed in the chancel, the original entrance to the church can be seen.

The sturdy bell tower, added in 1665 to the primitive Romanesque tower, has decorations characteristic of the 11th and 12th centuries, such as the four time-worn human heads visible in the gable.

An Interior Rich with Art
The interior of the church, with a single nave, is of great interest both for its architectural structure and for the paintings that adorn its walls. One item of particular note is a circa 8th-century sandstone slab decorated with patterns of knots, weaves and stylized birds, probably representing doves. This piece, discovered during restoration in 1966, is the most important evidence of Lombard sculpture in the Florentine area.

On the walls, there are two frescoes with pietra serena frames. One, attributed to Raffaellino del Garbo, depicts the Madonna Enthroned with Child, Saints Anthony Abbot and Sebastian, and a patron, dated 1497. The other, divided into two scenes, depicts the Madonna and Child with Saints in the lower part and the Annunciation in the upper part, dated 1451.

The Cloister
Entering from the right transept of the church, one enters the cloister, which dates back to 1228, as indicated by a faintly legible inscription on the portal. The cloister adds an additional element of serenity and contemplation to the complex.

A Place of Spirituality
The Church of St. Agatha in Arfoli is now administered by the Sacramentine Fathers and continues to be a place of great spiritual and cultural importance. Its rich history, fascinating architecture and the works of art it preserves make it a must-see destination for those visiting Reggello and wishing to immerse themselves in the historical and artistic heritage of Tuscany.

Visiting the Church of St. Agatha in Arfoli is a journey through time, discovering a place that has preserved its beauty and significance intact through the centuries.