A couple of days ago we headed to Florence to meet PJ’s brother Mark in the Tuscan capital for three days. We decided to take the old road between Ravenna and Firenze through the mountainous Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi. This road took us across the Apennines mountains where we came across the Benedictine monastery of San Godenzo.
We were desperate to shoot with our full equipment, including tripods, after the restrictions of Ravenna and we found the perfect place at the Abbazia di San Godenzo, a 12th century Benedictine abbey. The church was completely empty during our two hours there and we were delighted to be able to photograph to our hearts’ content. The structure of the church is quite familiar with a nave and two side aisles, but there is no transept. The structure is unvaulted, but covered with a wooden ceiling.
The elevation of the church is quite simple – the arcade arches are carried by sturdy piers and above the arcade is a series of clerestory windows. This is, as might be expected, a fairly dark church.
The church had a couple of unique features, including a tribune dividing the crossing and an elevated apse above. Below the ape is a small dark crypt. There are stairs mounting to the apse on either side of the tribune.
The highlight of the raised apse is the beautiful mosaic in the oven vault. This entire raised choir is a testament to the monastic origin of the church, since the altar used for normal services is below in the crossing.
The crypt is very interesting in itself, hidden behind the main altar and underneath the tribune.
Inside we can see the darkened shrine with its groin vaulting.
This post is just a small introduction to the church. We’ll do better justice to the Abbazia di San Godenzo when we return home in June. Meanwhile there will be plenty of other adventures to write about, including PJ’s ascent to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome above the Duomo in Florence.
Location: 43.926093° 11.618749°