San Martino in Greppo

The small church of San Martino in Greppo, situated halfway up the hillside along the eastern slopes of the Monte alle Piane, has always held strategic importance for access to the valley, ensuring it control and defence. The church was located right along the easiest route and also became the place where taxes were paid for the transit of goods and people to and from the passes of the Garfagnana.

Historical notes

The current church of San Martino in Greppo dates back to the eleventh to twelfth centuries and was probably built upon a more ancient kind of structure from around 979. Next to the church, a hospital for the care of travellers passing through the valley was then built, which has been documented back to1205. Sources from the time testify to the construction over the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries of many houses that surrounded the hospital of which, however, there remains no trace.

The church, which underwent restoration that was completed in 2009, has a a single nave structure with a semicircular apse; the latter is made from squared blocks of white limestone with a decoration of hanging arches with sandstone shelves adorned with geometric motifs under which three single-lancet windows open with a monolithic archivolt.

 The presence of a small fortress in a bygone era may be deduced from the presence of some structures that surround the area south of the church of San Martino and from what remains of the so-called "Porta della Gabella": an arch below which one needed pass in order to access the mountain roads. The Porta della Gabella was dismantled during the 1960s, due to a collapse which occurred following an enlargement of the carriageway below.


San Martino in Greppo, church side entrance
San Martino in Greppo, apse detail
San Martino in Greppo, remains of the walls
San Martino in Greppo, interior apse with altar