My bags are packed and I’m counting down the hours until I’m at my artistic and spiritual home, La Macina Di San Cresci (San Cresci) artist residency in Tuscany, Italy.
My family and I had the privilege to stay at San Cresci 2 years ago. I wrote about it in my first ever blog (#artistresidency ). I really don’t know where to begin to explain the artistic oasis which is San Cresci….. maybe I should start with some history?
San Cresci is a large complex which now features a (nonoperational) parish church, owner’s residence, two artist apartments, a large communal basement studio, exhibition space, and a walled garden with panoramic views down to the town of Greve in Chianti and the medieval walled town of Montefioralle.
Earliest known records of the parish church, San Cresci, date back to 948. The oldest church in the region, San Cresci has been lovingly restored by the new caretakers, Florentine architect Demetria (Mimma) Verduci and world renowned light sculptor Professor Duccio Trassinelli.
Mimma and Duccio opened the residency, about 17 years ago, to welcome international artists across all disciplines. When we stayed we shared the facilities with 3 other artists including a choreographer, visual artist and another graphic designer/visual artist all from USA.
Nestled among the Tuscan olive groves and vineyards, the modest sandstone church contains only a few original Romanesque architectural features including the entrance arches.
The walls of the parish church are adorned with exquisite frescoes dating back to 1800s. Behind the marble altar, a 1615 canvas painting by Francesco Boldrini, depicting the Madonna of Rosario, can be found together with a 16C wooden crucifix with Jesus. A worn groove can be seen on the red and white floor tiles, where countless parishioners have trodden over time.
Named after the Holy Martyr Acrisio, commonly known as Cresci, the pieve (parish) was known to pilgrims, passing through Greve on their way to Rome, as a place to stay and leave their valuable passions behind for safe keeping until their return. Mimma jokes about finding a big cache of goodies during the restoration (1994-1997) alas nothing was found.
What was discovered, during restoration, was a ‘longobard’ stone. This could date back to 500-700 AD when the Germanic people, Lombards ( Longobards ) ruled large parts of the Italy.
More modern history features the French contemporary thinker, Guy Debord and Gianfranco Sanguinetti who lived in the villa during the 70s.
Needless to say the history of San Cresci is long and rich. I look forward to immersing myself in its history and spending many warm Tuscan nights in Mimma’s garden discussing Guy Debord, Roman architecture and everything Italian.
Yours in art,