The church of S. Pietro a Cascia

Tuscany is full of tiny villages that grew up inside the walls of castles or around the parish churches. The church of S. Pietro a Cascia, near Reggello, is a typical example. This imposing basilical construction is divided into three naves by two rows of majestic columns interrupted by pilasters and concludes in a semicircular apse. The church, possibly consacrated in 1073, can be found mentioned in documents from the early 12th century (the present building dates from the early 13th century). The facade is preceded by a large portico on four columns, closed at the sides by two wings that continue along the outer walls, and is possibly the only surviving Romanesque portico in Tuscany. The upper part of the facade is decorated with a row of small arches. The interior, lit by simple one-light or cruciform windows, has a trussed wooden roof. The wonderful triptych by Masaccio (1422) is at the end of the left nave. The square bell tower was probably built as a watch tower in Lombard times (4th cent.), and formed part of the original defence system.