Pieve di Santo Stefano (Vallecchia)

Pieve di Santo Stefano (Vallecchia)

The parish church of Santo Stefano di Versilia is a church of Romanesque origin located in Vallecchia, a hamlet in the municipality of Pietrasanta. Like all churches, it is located along the Via Francigena, which passes right in front of its facade. The bell tower is on the right and its renovation dates back to the first decade of the 21st century.

The first information on the parish church is found in a document dated 881 AD, and later in the papal bulls, where the small church is generically called Pieve di Versilia, and only after several years does it establish itself as the parish church of Vallecchia. The foundations of the complex can be traced back to the 8th century AD, while the current architecture dates back to the 11th century.

The Versilia area had been fortified as a border garrison of the Byzantine domain. After the conquest of Rotari it became an integral part of the Duchy of Lucca, and it was from here that the Longobards gradually took control of the entire coast.

The area, which was often the scene of wars between Lucca and Pisa, only became stable for many years when it passed to Pietrasanta, with the consequent annexation to the Florentine state, which took place in the 14th century.

The church has undergone continuous restoration due to earthquakes, floods or wars. The oldest parts were built using local marble from Mount Solaio as raw material, while the latest reconstruction works were carried out following the Second World War.

The building, with three naves with the central one ending in a semicircular apse, was built on an open space which was subsequently fenced off and includes the parish house and the bell tower.
Of great importance is the facade of the church, which has an important entrance portal in the center, surmounted by a neoclassical marble rose window, flanked on both sides by two more discreet doors.