The opening of a new museum in San Cassiano

There is a new museum in San Cassiano to house the 14th century sculpture in wood of a horse and rider, identified as San Martino, by artist Jacopo dell Quercia. The sculptor is also famous for the carving of the tomb of Ilaria Guinigi in the Duomo in Lucca, and the Fontana Gaia in Siena, among other things. San Martino was known for his generosity and compassion and it is said that he cut his cloak in half and gave it to a poor freezing peasant to keep him warm in winter.

Previously the sculpture had been kept in the local church.The Chiesa Monumentale di S.Cassiano has been known since 722. The facade is from the period between 9th and 12th centuries.

At 11.30 people began to gather in front of the church for the ceremony.

The mayor of Bagni di Lucca, Dottore Massimo Betti, gave a speech about the importance of the Lima Valley. The area of San Cassiano had a population of 1800 people in the 16th century, at a time when La Villa and Ponte a Serraglio had a combined population of only 570.

After more speeches by those responsible for setting up the museum, the priest and the onlookers toasted the new museum.

Then everyone filed in to see the sculpture.

I was not at the museum opening, but Heather Jarman from Sapori-e-Saperi was, and kindly sent the photos and details of the event so we can all share it. Thank you Heather.

The new museum will be open every Saturday from 9.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 19.00. For information and booking at other times call: (39) 0583 809275

For a previous post on San Cassiano click here.

16 thoughts on “The opening of a new museum in San Cassiano

  1. It is a great idea to house these treasures in a museum. Not very long ago some valuable pieces have been stolen at San Pietro di Corsena. The solution is not to close the churches but to house those treasures where they can be both admired and protected. Well done!

  2. Thank you so much, Debra, for the information and photos on the museum in San Cassiano. How ironic that my husband and I should hear this from you in Brisbane whilst we are here in San Cassiano. We had seen the posters and brochures and sought information. At the Tourist Information Centre we were told simply that it was a festival but she had no other details. An English speaking Italian local, a friend of ours, said that it was to celebrate the birthday of San Cassiano. On returning from an outing with visitors we saw that San Cassiano was inundated with cars and there were games in the sports field. We had a wonderful dinner at the very busy Santina’s, overlooking the valley. Finding the beautiful church open for a change, and very full, we took our visitors in just as the organ recital finished. We chatted with people in the church but still no mention of the museum next door.
    I know what we will be doing next Saturday.
    Thanks again. All the best,

    • It is mind boggling that there is so little information available about local events!!!!!!! Imagine how much better attended these things could be if people knew about them. I would love to get some effective marketing happening in the area. Will you still be around after the 6th September? I am in town for a couple of months from then.

  3. Nice coverage of the opening of the new musuem at San Cassiano. For years the statue of Saint Martin was used as a hobby horse by the local children before art historians realised its great artistic worth. The poor horse may have lost most of its legs during this time. To add: the frozen beggar who received half of Martin’s cloak revealed himself in a dream as Jesus Christ who then said to Martin. “Here is a pagan Roman soldier who has clothed me.” When Martin woke up he found the other half of the cloak restored to him and converted himself to christianity.

    Of equal beauty and worth are the twin statues of the annunciation with the virgin’s marvellously timorous expression at the angel’s portentuous news. These are also attributed to Della Quercia.

    Actually, the museum should have been ready at least seven years ago but there was a cantankerous dispute, involving Church and Town, regarding funding and management. It was one of Dottore (not Signor!) Betti’s pledges that if he was elected mayor he would break the impasse and he did – in less than three weeks! Well done Massimo (who is also editor of the Giornale di Bagni di Lucca for which I write occasionally).

    Francis Pettitt

    • Thank you very much for the additional information and the correction to Dottore Betti’s name. I would love to meet with you when I come back to Bagni di Lucca in a couple of weeks. You are obviously very knowledgeable about Bagni di Lucca and I am looking for information about the villages.

  4. Yes Debra, I’ll be very pleased to meet you too as I greatly enjoy reading your blogs and looking at your marvellous photos. It’s very hot here at the moment although yesterday, when Sandra and I were picking myrtles on top of a local mountain a hail storm (literally) hit us (not Bagni, I hasten to add which remained as hot as ever). By the time you arrive cooler weather is promised which should be better for just walking around. My cellphone is +39 339 128 2757 and our house is the one with burgundy coloured shutters at the very top of Longoio as you look from its car park. I also add, for information/interest that I am a permanent – since 2005 – resident here (English-language adviser and teacher for schools in the Lucca area) , and Sandra, my wife, had a Florentine -born dad so we both love and know Florence very much as well. Best wishes Francis.

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