Concattedrale di Sant’Antimo Martire

The Co-Cathedral of Saint Antimo the Martyr - Cloister - Museum - Monastery


As often happens, the Church was built where there had previously been a religious building.  It was the hermitage of San Michele Arcangelo of the Augustinian friars, who had settled in Piombino after 1256, when the hermits from Falcone and Palmaiola had moved to Piombino following the general reunification of these friars, as decreed by Pope Alexander IV.

Today, the full title of the Church is: The Co-Cathedral Archpriest Abbey of St. Antimo the Martyr.  The first name reflects the change of name of the Diocese in 1978 from Populonia-Massa Marittima to Piombino-Massa Marittima; the last, an honorary title, by virtue of the decree of June 25, 1960 of the Holy Consistorial Congregation.

In the 1470s, Piombino was under the Pisan authority of Piero Gambacorta, who wanted to build a large church in the second city of his domain. The inscription to the left of the facade attributes the decision to build in 1377. The style is Romanesque, tempered by various Gothic elements such as the hanging arches of the eaves, the lateral lancet windows and the apse with pointed arches.  It belongs to the so- called ‘Franciscan’ style of church which was commonly built, at least in Tuscany, by all the mendicant orders.

Originally, the church had a large single nave, a rectangular apse and a gabled roof with wooden trusses and a terracotta flooring (replaced in 1933 by marble slabs). The bezel of the portal shows a mosaic of the Vatican School of 1939, dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, in memory of to whom the Church was first dedicated.

The thirteenth-century Augustinian hermitage occupied the entire space of the present presbytery, with the entrance from the current door of the sacristy. The altar was located where the niche of Our Lady is placed. This sixteenth-century polychrome marble altar was installed in 1810, when Princess Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi asked for it to be sent from a deconsecrated Church in Lucca.

Inside the façade there are two tombs of the Appiani family: entering on the left there is a 1470 Edicule by Andrea di Francesco Guardi, which preserves the bodies of two of the sons of Jacopo Appiani III; the other, more monumental, encloses the body of Emanuele Appiani, Lord of Piombino from 1451 to 1457.

In 1933 the Church underwent general restoration which led to some significant changes such as the creation of the small left aisle where the marble baptismal font dated 1470, one of the best works left in Piombino by the sculptor Andrea di Francesco Guardi, can be seen: This consists of three parts blended in a single work, the base is carved with acanthus leaves, its multifaceted tub with crests of the Appiani and Cherubini, and the pinnacle (which had to have either a cross or a statue of the Baptist at its top). In 1937 a shrine was built at the end of the left nave for the Piombinese who fell in WW1. It is the work of the architect Ugo Giovannozzi comprising bronzes and a crucifix by the sculptor Italo Orlando Griselli.

The south side of the Church opens on to the Cloister that Jacopo Appiani III had had built. Executed by Andrea Guardi, there are twenty elegant columns, each with a different capital. The crest of Jacopo Appiani III is cut into the beams of the corner columns.

The three rooms that overlook the cloister host the Civic-Diocesan Museum: in the first room, you can admire works by Guardi, Ciolo and Marco da Siena; in the second, there are church ornaments, chasubles, glory cards, books and two sculptures; in the third room there are paintings, tombstones, a mural of the Madonna del Latte from the second half of the fifteenth century and a wooden crucifix, carved and painted by a Florentine artist of the 1630s.

The religious complex is completed with the adjacent Augustinian convent of the late fifteenth/ early sixteenth century. The building is waiting to be completely restored so that it can return to its ecclesiastical use. The front of the church on the Piazza St. Augustino, is highlighted by the porch with round arches in brick and with columns and capitals in sandstone.