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Pontormo's 'Visitation'

Pontormo's Visitation

Carmignano, 20km southwest of Florence, has long been known for its excellent wines—DOCG now, but thanks to Grand Duke Cosimo III, a protected denomination since 1716.

Besides the wine there is one compelling reason to visit: the church of Santi Michele e Francesco, with Jacopo Pontormo’s uncanny painting The Visitation (1530s), one of the masterpieces of Florentine Mannerism. There are no concessions to naturalism here – the four soulful, ethereal women, draped in Pontormo’s startling luminous colours, barely touch the ground, standing before a scene as substantial as a stage backdrop. The result is one of the most unforgettable images from the 16th century.

Just south of town on the SP44 is the Medici villa at Artimino.

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Church Hours 7.30am-5pm, until 6pm from May-Sept

Adm Free

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Yorck Project