Marradi surroundings


In medieval times it was the castle of the Guidi Counts and was later bought by Pietro and Bonifacio dei Pagani di Susinana, the father and uncle of Maghinardo Pagani―as stated in the contract that was drawn up on August 11, 1251 under the portico of Santa Maria a Rio Cesare Church in the nearby castle of Susinana, which also belonged to the Pagani family. Susinana castle is in fact, only a few kilometres away and can be reached on foot along a trail that crosses the mountains. Maginardo implemented the defensive structure of Gamberaldi, a crucial point of his fief along the boundary between the Senio and Lamone valleys. At his death the land passed into the hands of his brother Ugolino and, therefore, the Ubaldini who, in 1362, surrendered it to Florence. Since the land bordered on the Papal State along the wheat and salt routes, Gamberaldi was at the heart of a dense network of roads used by financiers and smugglers, patriots and Carbonari. The trail was also travelled by Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1849, and in his honour it bears the name “Sentiero di Garibaldi” (Garibaldi’s trail). Today the village is made up of  three ancient 14th century towers set around the Pozzo delle Corti.

Badia Santa Reparata (BADIA DEL BORGO), as a Benedictine abbey in 1025 and became a Vallumbrosan abbey in 1090 until it was suppressed in the 19th century. Of the original layout, we find the belltower, which makes the complex look more like a fortress than a convent, and the extensive remains of Romanesque walls on the left side of  the church. The façade is Baroque, while the interior, the high altar and the paintings, are in 18th-century style. The paintings, which were created by the Master of Marradi at the end of the 15th century, are today found in San Lorenzo di Marradi church.

BADIA DELLA VALLE stands in the Valle Acerreta, just below the monastery. It can be reached by taking trail 521/A and a dirt road. It was once one with Gamogna and founded in the same year (1053) by San Pier Damiani. The Rules of the abbey were very strict and stated that the monks had to spend a period of time in the Badia monastery and one in the Hermitage.  Of the church only the vaulted crypt with its supporting columns remains: it was made into a cellar for the conservation of wine. A ladder leads to the rectory, officiated on occasion of particular religious feasts. The monks also had a mill; and the millstones are found leaning against the entrance to the churchyard.

The ancient EREMO DI GAMOGNA on Alpe di San Benedetto was founded by San Pier Damiani in 1053. Dedicated to Saint Barnabas, it was used for spitual rites by the monks of the Badia della Valle that stands just below it and can be reached on foot. The church maintains its original Romanesque structure with the gabled façade which looks east, and its semicircular apse with a conical roof covered in slate and a bell-gable. The cloister, the monks’ cells, the oven, the drying-huts, and the barn complete the complex. After a period of neglect, the complex was restored to its ancient splendour and its role as a place of hospitality, spirituality, and prayer.