Abbazia di Farneta (Abbey of Farneta)
Farneta Abbey is situated at an altitude of 317 m. in the Chiucio hills of the Valdichiana, on the road between Cortona and Foiano. It is an ancient abbey, founded by the Benedettini Neri (Benedictine)
monks on the site of a Roman temple in commendam to the Cortonese Cardinal, Silvio Passerini, the Bishops Ricci and Vagnucci and to the Ligurian, Dei Carretto.
It was then passed on to the Benedettini olivetani monks, who kept it until the
suppression of the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena, around 1780, when the secular priests (Diocese of Cortona) took over from them.
The unusual architectural features of the structure were mainly
publicised from 1937 onwards, thanks to the efforts of Don Sante Felici, parish abbot of Farneta. The crypt,
which was uncovered and restored through the efforts of Don Sante, is made up of three cela with barrel and cross
vaults, supported by various columns of Roman origin. The first column, rose-coloured granite, comes from
in southern Egypt and has Roman capitals with various figures carved on it, amongst which there is acheḷo (a human figure with
horns). In the centre there is a kind "tempietto" with four columns, two of oriental marble, one of Ionic travertine (with 16 flutes) and the other of ash-coloured oriental granite. The Roman funerary stele, between the central and northwest cells, is also interesting and bears the inscription
"Quartafiglia di Erennio Pompeo Liberto". The column of the third cell, a classic travertine base, like the first, is made of oriental marble and has
a sandstone, cube-shaped capital, and is engraved on the four sides with a cross and flowers. One of the bells was re-cast in 1724, and the other, by Mugnai Filippo di Montevarchi,
dates from 1827.
A Museum known as the "antiquarium" adjoins the church and houses palaeontological and archaeological