The medieval suburb.
The walls of the Monastery.
Following the speedway Florence-Siena we find the indications for
Passignano at the height of the exit for Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.
Passignano was one of the most powerful castles
of the Val di Pesa and its existence is documented from the beginning
of the 11th century, although on the hill where it stands there still
exists a 'guardingo' (watch tower) built in the era of the Longobard invasion of Italy. Unlike
all the other strengthened settlements of the area, Passignano had a completely
different history, so much so that we can find it today practically intact,
also thanks to much restoration of last century.
The signs of the neo gothic restructuring of
last century are clear.
St. Giovanni Gualberto, founder of the Benedictine monastic
order called 'Vallombrosano', built here in the year 1049 the abbey of
S.Michele Archangel. Since then during the two following centuries, slowly
but inexorably, the abbots took possession also of the surrounding castle,
acquiring all the buildings of it and raising a grandiose strengthened
monastic complex in the area once occupied by the feudal residences with
characteristic more of a fortress than a place of prayer. It has the aspects
of a small classical fortress of the 14th century, with quadrangular plan
strengthened by towers at the angles, enclosing all the monastic buildings.
From 1866 the monastery of Passignano was suppressed and the 'castle'
was transformed in villa-farm. Of the primitive constructions that rose
outside the abbey, today remains only a splendid house-tower of the 13th
century and the parish church of S.Biagio with frescos of the 15th century.