Settimo, Abbey of

views updated


Benedictine monastery in the Diocese of Florence in northern Italy. It was founded about the middle of the 10th century by Lothar of Cadolo and was located seven miles outside of Florence (hence the name Settimo, seventh). The Cluniacs were brought in almost immediately and obtained such rich endowments in Tuscany and Emilia that in 1048 the title of count was conferred on the abbot. During this period the monastery was deeply influenced by St. john gualbert, but does not appear to have become a vallombrosan monastery as such. On Feb. 12, 1068, the Vallombrosan monk peter (igneus) al dobrandini here sustained the famous ordeal by fire. He passed unharmed through a corridor of fire to demonstrate the truth of the accusations of simony made by the monks against the Florentine Bishop Peter of Pavia, called the Mezzabarha (Halfbeard), who was later deposed, but died reconciled to the Church in this same monastery. In 1236 gregory ix entrusted the monastery to the Cistercians of san galgano near Siena, who had the primitive Romanesque church dedicated to Our Lord decorated with frescoes and enlarged the monastery. The monastery achieved its greatest development in the first half of the 14th century, soon followed by decline: for as early as 1435 eugene iv had introduced the practice of commendation. Among the commendatories, who were usually fairly efficient at looking after the well-being of the monastery, was Cardinal Domenico capranica, founder of the college in Rome that bears his name. In the Renaissance period the monastery buildings were remodeled and enlarged on a grand scale, but spiritually the monastery was of no further substantial importance down to its suppression in 1783. In 1944 the remaining buildings, which had been restored in 1931, suffered severe damage in air raids.

Bibliography: c. c. calzolai, La storia della Badia a Settimo (Florence 1958), with bibliog.

[i. de piccoli]