The Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo in Semifonte

Surrounded by vineyards and cultivated fields, the chapel stands where once the powerful city of Semifonte was located, a rival of Florence.


Visit Chianti © Giorgio Magini Fotografo

"If the people in the world who are most lost had not been stepmother to Caesar, but kind to their son like a mother, then this matter is Florentine and changes hands and currency, for it would have turned to Semifonte, where his grandfather went to search for it."

(Divine Comedy, Paradise XVI, 58-63).

hus Dante Alighieri recalls the ancient city of Semifonte in his Divine Comedy. The myth of the powerful city of Val d'Elsa razed to the ground by the Florentines in 1198 still survives today in Chianti.

In the 12th century, the rivalry between Florence and Semifonte was such that, after the defeat, the Florentines had prohibited any new construction in the surrounding area, with the exception of the Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo, built in 1203.

"The Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo preserves the memory of ancient Semifonte"

The Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo stands on the hill in front of the village of Barberino Tavarnelle, along the road that leads to Certaldo. It can be reached by car or on foot.

The dome recalls that of Santa Maria del Fiore while the structure is similar to the temple of Santo Stefano alla Vittoria near Foiano della Chiana, the site of the battle of Scannagallo where the Florentines defeated the Sienese.

A destination for excursions and long walks in every season of the year, this area offers suggestive views: among the immense expanses of vineyards and cultivated fields, the dome stands out in the vegetation of the grove that surrounds it.

To reach it, you also cross the village of Petrognano, which according to some, may even be what remains of ancient Semifonte.
Among the suggestive walks to do in the area, there is the Sentiero delle Briglie.

The Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo in Semifonte is open every Saturday and Sunday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, from April 15th to October 15th, thanks to the volunteers of the Summofonte association.

In winter, extraordinary openings on weekends are possible. For info, you can consult the website of the Summofonte Association.




Visit Chianti © Giorgio Magini Fotografo

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In the centre of the story between Florence and Siena, the countryside and the small towns of Chianti are rich with appeal and corners to discover.

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