The cathedral, the church and the city: celebrating saints in the statutes of Southern Tuscan cities

Sandra Cardarelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Medieval communes consolidated their power by implementing civic rituals where the clergy, the ruling class, and the citizens participated in the celebration of locally venerated saintly figures. This paper investigates the ritual celebrations of patron saints implemented by civic governments in two cities of the southern area of Tuscany, as documented in their fifteenth and sixteenth-century statutes. It focuses on celebrations for the Virgin of the Assumption in the cathedral of Grosseto and in the church of Santa Maria in Campagnatico. The cathedral and the parish church emerge as the focal points for the affirmation of the power and authority of the commune and its elite, where citizens were both participants and spectators. The city statutes and later chronicles provide an insight to civic celebrations of saints, the political use of the cult and the commissions for artworks related to it, such as the altar of the Madonna delle Grazie in Grosseto. Recently discovered archival material relating to Grosseto also suggests that ritual offerings by the commune in the cathedral were by no means limited to celebrations of religious cult, but could take place in order to re-affirm the importance of the civic authorities within the city. The payment of the census to the cathedral of Grosseto on such occasions by nearby communities sheds new light on the relationship between Siena and its contado, and suggests cultural exchange with the dominant city of Siena.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArt and Identity
Subtitle of host publicationVisual Culture, Politics and Religion in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
EditorsSandra Cardarelli, Emily-Jane Anderson, John Richards
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)978-1-4438-3628-9, 1-4438-3628-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


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