Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple

Part 2

Link to the first part

The headquarters of the Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple

As we have already mentioned more than once, there was much confusion in reporting the facts with respect to the Company, no less confusion regarding the venues used.

The Oratory of Saint Mary the Virgin of the Cross’ in the Temple

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Oratorio in via San Giuseppe
In research to understand where derived the name “the Temple” We postulate that this was the original headquarters of the Company, existing as Templar temple, a stone’s throw from the Tabernacle on the corner of street de ‘Macci where he was born the same company .

This oratory was destined to prayer and to the company’s meetings, however, it was not public and there could only be accessed as members of the Company or with their permission.

Its architecture is suited to the period, the facade looks simple with irregular stones arranged filaretto, the center worked on a wooden door where you recognize the two upper polilobi two coats of arms, one of the company and one of the Torrigiani family.

Perpendicularly above the door there is a rose window with square windows and the side of the door two windows with semicircular arch protected by wrought iron grates original. Also on the side of the door at the base of the windows, there are two original rings wrought iron, made into rings, which were used to place the banners of the Company. The façade is also characterized by a particular item. It is an unconventional overhanging roof, not in use at the time. The roof is in nullifying the Fioretti description (E) to identify this Oratory as the official seat of the Company (E p. 76).

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Interno dell’Oratorio

The interior of the Oratory today appears as a rectangular room with a single nave with a tiled floor and covered by a roof truss.
The two side walls are two doors with doorposts and lintel stone that today closing two closets. These two ports were probably access to the side buildings that were part of the hospital. Along the walls going to the bottom there are six niches probably designed to bring it to the Enlightenment, perhaps dating back to the use of the Oratory as a hospital at the time of the Templars. Always on the side walls in the bottom of the Oratory are two plates. The first in 1428, when an ancestor of Michelangelo Buonarroti left a legacy to the Brotherhood for the restructuring of the hospital (previously shown Targa).

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Disegno dell’affresco

The fresco over ogee of the back wall dates back to 1928 and is a celebration of the Brotherhood wanted by the then parish priest of the nearby church of San. Giuseppe, Monsignor Luigi d’Indico (C). The fresco presents the background the walls of Florence, under the Madonna del Giglio in glory between two angels (Madonna del Giglio as claimed by the Fioretti (E) was Our Lady who inspired the young men to form the Company (E p. 87) ). Two processions meet, the one coming from the right is of the confreres, the left procession is headed by Lorenzo il Magnifico. At the front of the procession left Pope Eugene IV speaks with the Battista. At the front of the right San Francesco parade shows the Virgin to Savonarola. Always in the right procession you see the portrait of Benito Mussolini.

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Affresco nell’arco ad ogiva

The fresco is badly damaged by the flood in Florence in 1966 to date it appears as pictured to the left while in the drawing above on the right if you can appreciate the original image.

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Lunetta a mosaico

A small mosaic with the face of Christ on the right wall executed in 1923 remembers the name of Monsignor D’Indico who was the one who revived the Company and in fact a painting in the middle of the left wall commemorates the rebirth of the Company as Brotherhood in 1912, this We discussed below.

You must make an aside on Oratory internal plant that today looks very different from the original. Originally there were two just entered rooms, one to the right and to the left and the roof of the two rooms was a walkway immediately below the canopy. The two windows then served to give light to two rooms, and the canopy to give the Oratory light. He describes this plant also Richa (G) reminiscent of a room to the right entering used for secret meetings and a left where the company gave audiences to the poor and to those who turned to them (A p. 15). This provision There is also demonstrated by Dott. Giampiero Cioni, perhaps the last living to have been part of the Company at a very early age (Dr. Cioni has issued us a tale that will put at the end). This property was probably demolished after the flood of 1966. As evidence of this architecture is also the dell’Uccelli reading (A) with respect to the assets of the Company (A p. 29).

In the register of assets owned by the Company Book I ° hospitals c.4 year 1548 is located between the properties: “A winged house in the above holds capelin for his living. The property was Mona Bartolomea woman Tanino Bartolomeo from Monte Cuccoli and it was left to the Society. ” This house is based on the ground-roof street San Giuseppe 12, that is to the left side of the Oratory of St Mary the Virgin in the Temple of the Cross. The fact that it is specified as well as winged even above it reinforces the suspicion fact, who along St. Joseph street would stop to observe notice that this house has an extension over the Oratory, that is, overlaps with a wing on the roof of the Oratory. During the renovations of this wing they were found the first two steps of a spiral staircase that descended vertically in the left corner entering the Oratory. Considering it was for residential purposes of the chaplain that would make sense as the same would have a direct access al’Oratorio. The same scale as well as reach the room on the left is also opened on the landing in 1912 after the reopening of the Society was used to sing Christmas novenas, as indeed reminds us Dott. Cioni for being part of the chorus.

Must be said that in 1428 thanks to the donation of the ancestor of Michelangelo Buonarroti Simone, of which we have already discussed, this building was integrated with the hospital that the company he set up the left and right of the Oratory itself (B p. 40) .

Church in the Temple

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Firenze antica disegno
The church in the Temple is the place that since the creation of the Company was the initial goal of the confreres. The four that were set aside money every week and donations arriving in time needed to build this church. The fact that it was called the Temple has created a lot of confusion on the ending of the name of the company as I have outlined.

The September 30, 1361 following a request to the City by Migliore di Vanni the baker of the people of Saint. Ambrose Mayor elect of the Company was granted a plot (of land arms 30) outside the walls at Gate San Francesco where erect a church and a cemetery (A p. 11)

Here is the wording of the concession: “ Cappellam cum cemeterium iuxta locum justitie pro salute animarum dampnatorum…” e “ …petiam terre positam iuxia locum justitie prope menia civitatis extra portam Sancti Francisci in populo Sancti Jacobi inter foveas quarterij Sancte Crucis. Que petia terre est longitudinis brachiorum 35 et latitudinis brachiorum 25 vel circa, cui hi suntconfines: a primo et secundo platea sive pratum porte Sancti Francisci, que platea sive pratum vocatur locus justitie, a tertio flumen Arni, a quarto murus piscarie molendicorum communis Florentie”.

The church was finished in 1366. Until 27 January 1366 the executed were buried at Santa Candida (A p. 24).

Testimony building up in the course of this church is also by alms lire 20 made by Strozzi 25 July 1366 for Art Merchant account with the aim of “… fabbricar the chapel founded and started out by said door “; it is written in the Protocols ser Guido Guidi and testifies to the fact that even the little church at 25 July 1366 had not been terminated (A pg. 7).

Il Cappelli (B) contains a quote on page 33 of Guido Carrocci that describe the church in the Temple calls it is small, but charming and characteristic with the facade of the frescoes of Spinello Aretino.

Until 1529 (the year of the siege of Florence), the last prayer of the condemned and their burial after execution took place in this church out of the Gate San Francesco, near the gallows and near the Arno (A p. 24) .

The small church in the Temple because of the siege of Florence, which lasted the span of two years from 1528-1530, was destroyed in 1531 at the behest of Alessandro de ‘Medici, Duke. The purpose of the duke was to improve the city’s fortifications and erect a bastion of defense against the Meadows of Justice, for this reason it was closed Porta San Francesco, or the Gate of Justice and buried under a pile of debris along with the church in the Temple, they were also destroyed 40 houses near them because of the new fortification.

The place of execution was moved to the lawn outside Gate at the Croce said precisely Pratello of Justice, which was situated in the current square Beccaria.

The destruction of the Temple Church led to the loss of the frescoes on the facade attributed as said Spinello Aretino is a work of Pisanello in the period of construction of the church was in Florence to perfect, as the Vasari (I, p. 302). Pisanello painted inside the church the episode of the pilgrim going to St. James of Galicia was defamed by the daughter of un’oste putting it in his pocket a silver cup tried to do it to punish as a thief, saved and brought back from San Jacopo at home.

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Compianto della Croce al Tempio

Before the destruction of the two tables were saved, one of Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, Beato Angelico, entitled “Lament of the Cross at the Temple” which depicted a dead Christ carried to the tomb of the Apostles and exposed in the church at the Temple altar behind the crucifix . The panel was removed and transported at the Gallery of Fine Arts and later moved to the National Museum of San Marco in Florence always.
The second plank was removed a work by Rodolfo Bigordi Domenico Ghirlandaio and there was a painting of the Beheading of Sant Giovanni the Battista also saved and transferred to the new headquarters of the Company (A p. 25).

A small digression. At the time of Florence Capital (1865) it was lost his mind, and under the guidance of a serial breaker which was Giuseppe Poggi beat against the walls of Florence to make way to the ring road. During this work the small church in the Temple once again saw the light and resurfaced in excavations but instead of being defended and preserved was ignored in the name of innovation and demolished. A Shame despicable as the destruction of the walls of Florence.

The path of the condemned was modified from the original and began to follow a different route passing in Borgo degli Albizi then in street Pietrapiana and Piazza Sant’Ambrogio then move in Borgo la Croce and finally reach Piazza Beccaria. This was the reason that led the company to transfer his original home from the Oratory of Sant. Mary the Virgin of the Cross in the Temple  in Sant. Nicholas of Aliotti to Bridge a Rubaconte.

Also the lordship of Florence in 1531 the Company granted a seat outside the Porta a Pinti near a small cemetery (editor’s note: probably the current English cemetery) run dall’arcispedale of Santa Maria Nuova. Here, however, so temporary that was the same year the company abandoned it.

San Niccolò of Alliotti to Rubaconte bridge

On July 15 1531 the captains of the Bigallo by deed drawn up by Bartolomeo d’Antonio donated to the Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple a hospital site in Borgo della Porta to Croce (now Borgo la Croce) called Sant. Nicilò of Alliotti to a Rubaconte bridge opened by the Company of the Bigallo in 1425 by the will of Niccolò of Tosio or Totto Alliotti.

This was the new headquarters of the Company until 1785 year in which the Company ceased to exist for the suppression wanted by Pietro Leopoldo with the general law of March 21, which abolished the death penalty (A p. 26). The location of the office was to be the No. 2 and 4 Borgo la Croce, where you can still see the crests of the Bigallo and Company. In houses near the new headquarters of the Society also he lived the executioner (A p. 26).

This former hospital chapel became the new church to the Temple.

In 1547 the new church was consecrated by the Temple of the Most Reverend Pandolfini of Trojan Bishop that gratitude was admitted among the Captains no expense and with straight feet (B p. 44).

The church was characterized by three altars. One on the right was the Acciajoli and dedicated to Sant. Giovanni Battista and was transferred here from the church to the Temple table painted by Ghirlandaio. The left had a crucifix with 4 saints around by Santi di Tito. The altar had a very old painting of the SS. Annunziata perhaps also escaped from this church to the Temple. The main altar were spliced to the stone of iron bells where the condemned were tied. The need to tie the condemned arose because of an incident in which Baldo said Baldone by Pecchio, April 29, 1620, during the prayer tried to escape. In a daring attempt to escape the Baldo churches also help to comforters of the Society who refused. Balbo was then blocked by the cops and was carried out with the sentence hanging and quartering.

From the side of the epistle is entered in a cemetery where they were executed and buried under the arches that surrounded the cemetery they are placed the bones as was the custom at the time (A p. 27).

In 1566 given the large gathering of the faithful and the many offerings was decided to hire a secular priest and the first, with salary of 3 crowns per month, was the Reverend Father Matteo Cofferati, then they followed Vincenzo Bandini, P. Tosi and other (B p. 45).

At the time the Blacks in procession used a beautiful banner in which Santi di Tito had painted on one side Saint Giovanni preaching and on the entry of Christ into Jerusalem. This standard was used to give suffrage to the dead for justice but also the date of November 2 for the dead and the August 29 day of the Beheading of John the Baptist On August 24, the day the company in procession out of the door to cross to reach the pratello Justice singing to the Office of the dead.

From 1738 to the return of the door after every function the Blacks had scappucciarsi and be recognized, this for the government order that he feared deserters soldiers could enter the city in disguise (A p. 28).

The Leopoldino Decree of 1785 suppressed the Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple. The new church in the Temple was destroyed forever thanks to the work of the Poggi.

Places where the Company had badges and altars

San Simone

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San Simone

A brief reference to the Church of St. Simon not because seat of the Company, but it appears inside the coat of arms of the same company in a burial ground. As we know the executions took place mainly at the Bargello or the Meadows of Justice before or outside door to the Cross after the Florentine siege, but in reality were often performed at various locations and streets of Florence and those executed they were sometimes buried at the nearest church. San Simone has probably been the site of many burials, deserving the emblem of the Society itself. We do not also forget that the young men who founded the company were originally of the People of St. Simon and is therefore likely that there was a special bond with this church.

Santa Maria Novella

At the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Company had an altar, and his arms and every last Sunday of January was going to make offer to the Blessed Villana at the Basilica bringing Torchietti 80 and 16 lire for the friars.

San Firenze

Even in San Firenze, the Company had the coats of arms and provided in this church to the burial of executed inmates in Praetorian Palace or the city areas in the vicinity of the church.

Characters who have been part of the Company

Over time many people came to the Company of Santa Maria della Croce in the Temple and many have been involved. Some characters are famous in history, others are less known and some are entirely unknown. Here are some prominent names in the time frame of activities of the Company have been involved.

Primo fra tutti va citato Lorenzo il Magnifico, signore di Firenze, della cui storia sarebbe assurdo farne citazione dato che è conosciuta ai più (B pag 55).
Luca della Robbia fu un mirabile artista e illustre confratello della Compagnia ed è grazie ai suoi scritti che si conosce oggi la causa e sentenza di morte di Agostino Capponi e Pietro Paolo de’ Boschi condannati a morte nel 1512 per aver cospirato contro la vita del Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici (B pag. 66).
Iacopo Niccolini non solo apparteneva ad una delle famiglie più antiche di Firenze ma durante la sua attività nella Compagnia rimase famoso per essere fra coloro che confortarono il Savonarola prima della sua esecuzione, il P. Burlamacchi ne lasciò testimonianza scritta (Vita del Savonarola Giuntini Lucca pag. 170) (B pag. 66).
Il 29 febbraio del 1596 Ippolito Galantini entrò nella Compagnia. Era un setaiolo fiorentino fondatore della Congregazione della Dottrina Cristiana e nella rispettiva chiesa è esposto il suo corpo (B pag. 66).
Il Pontefice Eugenio IV saputo dell’opera della Compagnia non poteva credere a tanta abnegazione dei confratelli che in nome di Dio e della carità svolgessero opera tanto devota, decise quindi in incognito di vestire la lugubre veste de’ Neri e così celato confortare un reo. Rimase così colpito dalla Compagnia da arricchirne le ampie indulgenze.
Lorenzo Lippi, il geniale poeta fiorentino, fece parte della Compagnia come confortatore.
Michelangelo Buonarroti ha fatto parte della Compagnia e ne è testimonianza proprio la lapide presente nell’Oratorio fatta mettere da Michelangelo in onore del suo avo.

First of all we should mention Lorenzo il Magnifico, ruler of Florence, the history of which would be absurd to make quote as it’s known to most (B page 55).
Luca della Robbia was a wonderful artist and illustrious brothers in the Company and it is thanks to his writings that we know it today and judgment of the cause of death Agostino Capponi and Pietro Paolo de ‘Boschi sentenced to death in 1512 for conspiring against the life of Cardinal Giovanni de ‘Medici (B p. 66).
Jacopo Niccolini not only belonged to one of the oldest families of Florence but during its activity in the Company was famous for being among those who comforted Savonarola before his execution, Father Burlamacchi he left written testimony (Savonarola Life Giuntini Lucca pag . 170) (B p. 66).
February 29, 1596 Galantini Ippolito entered the Company. Was a Florentine silk merchant founder of the Congregation of Christian Doctrine and the respective church has exhibited his body (B p. 66).
The Pope Eugenio IV knew the work of the Company could not believe his denial of the confreres who in the name of God and of charity they did much dedicated work, so he decided to dress up in disguise as the dismal de ‘Blacks and so concealed a self-comforting. He was so impressed by the company, enriching the wide indulgences.
Lorenzo Lippi, the brilliant Florentine poet, was a member of the Company as a comforter.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was a member of the Company and is testimony to just the plaque present in the Oratory made put Michelangelo in honor of his grandfather.

Plenary Concessions

A demonstration of how the company was always held in greater consideration is given not only by the Municipality and concessions of the Republic who were trying to provide everything that the company needed, but also the benevolence of the Popes as Eugenio IV and Leone X. Eugenio IV granted 25 years and 25 quarantine of indulgences, then confirmed by Clemente VII. Even Clemente VII granted that the torture would take place after midnight (later corrected by the Council of Trent) and that the brothers of the Company de’ Blacks could officiate the sacraments (A page 23).

Paolo III gave them that on the day of the beheading of John the Baptist (August 24) the Company could save from death one condemned. Giulio III proclaimed that the liberation happen without incurring any expense (A page 23).

Paolo IV granted plenary indulgence in the day that the brothers entered the Company and the point of death by invoking the name of God (B p. 68).

Innocenzo VI then confirmed by Pope Leone XI, granted various privileges to the Company, including the right to be able to bury the executed in churches of Company, indulgence towards the confreres in Cases of Rome (editor’s note: I imagine Legal) could not be summoned unless Auditorio General and also that those sentenced to death assisted by the brothers could leave heir of their assets, the Company itself without prejudice to the tax authorities and were enough two witnesses who certify how (a page 24).

Many other concessions were made by the cardinals and of the Republic, also bears witness to the plaque on display outside the door to the Cross.

Closure and rebirth of the Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple

The Company was suppressed by Pietro Leopoldo of Tuscany in 1785 when the Grand Duke was planning the abolition of the death penalty is not just influenced by the readings and by Cesare Beccaria studies. The abolition took place on November 30th, 1786 sanctioned by Leopold Code. In the reality of things the death penalty was reintroduced by the Leopold I in 1790 for some exceptional crimes. Given the closure of the Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple of comfort task and burial of the dead bodies he was entrusted to the Confraternity of Santa Maria della Misericordia (F p. 481/482).

With the Leopoldina code is not only closed the Company of Santa Maria della Croce in the Temple, but virtually all companies in the area. The only two saved by the code were the Confraternity of Mercy, and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.

The reasons of Leopoldo I to this drastic decision were mainly the established habit of many brotherhoods and companies take advantage of their status with the confreres who basked in revelry and personal privileges. In the time they had derived from their statutes and sold to wealth, privilege and parties with lavish dinners both in town and out of town, useless waste of money. Leopoldo I of Tuscany would surely “clean” dirt that had infected charity but reassessing retrospectively committed a lightness with the Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple in 400 years of service he had never deviated from its purpose and sadly never profited money or power (B p. 74/75). The headquarters of Borgo la Croce, former hospital of closed Alliotti and the church was destroyed after a while, as mentioned above, the only survivor seat was the Oratory of Sant. Giuseppe Street; abandoned and decaying passed from hand to hand. For a brief period it was entrusted to a company he called San Carlo and then later used as a mortuary asylum for the Parish of Santt. Giuseppe and the end finally abandoned.

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Monsignor Luigi D’Indico

In a state of neglect it comes to 1911 when Monsignor Luigi D’Indico, pastor of Sant. Giuseppe, began renovations of engaging the architect G. Castellucci. The two together sought information and reported the Oratory to former glory, erasing the opprobrium that had altered the facade and interior. The work was completed quickly in 1912 (B p. 75/76/77).

The Company again life took on 1 January 1912 and was re-activated by a request of Monsignor Luigi D’Indico to Cardinal Alfonso Mistrangelo that decreed its revival.

This is the text of the decree:

“Alfonso Maria Mistrangelo, per grazia di Dio e della Santa Sede, Arcivescovo di Firenze e Principe del S. R. Impero.

Vista la domanda presentata dal M. R. Sac. Luigi D’Indico attuale parroco di San Giuseppe colla quale ci faceva istanza perché volessi permettere l’erezione canonica della ricostruita Arciconfraternita di Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio (detta dei Neri) soppressa già da Pietro Leopoldo con decreto ministeriale del 1785;

Visti gli articoli provvisori presentati per la l’approvazione;

Viste le leggi canoniche che regolano la presente materia;

Visto quanto era da vedersi;

In virtù delle facoltà ordinarie e straordinarie a Noi competenti in ragione del Nostro ufficio o comunque attribuiteci da SS. Canoni, abbiamo decretato e


Art. I – È nuovamente eretta la Ven. Arciconfraternita di Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio nella Parrocchia urbana di San Giuseppe, con tutti i privilegi, diritti e oneri ecc. ;

Art. II – I Capitoli provvisori in via d’esperimento avranno valore per 5 anni.

Firenze, addì 1º Gennaio 1912.


(Can. Andrea Casullo).”

The official headquarters became the Parish of Sant. Giuseppe as the Oratory was within its competence but its place of Christian action and charitable was again the Oratory of St Mary the Virgin in the Temple of the Cross.

The inauguration of what was now the Confraternity occurred May 23, 1912 in the presence of many personalities of the time and participated as a speaker Prof. Cav. Emanuele Magri dealing with the theme “Della Compagnia de ‘Blacks in the history of Florence.”

A year later, on the anniversary of the death of Savonarola Prof. Federico Ferretti of Preachers he treated the theme of “The Triumph of the Cross according to the concept of Fra Girolamo Savonarola” (B p. 78/79).

Cappelli in the Oratory description page. 82 Talk of a room to the left with two frescoes of the century XIV representing the stigmata of Sant. Francesco. It also describes a door from the vestibule leads into the chapel, built by the company Relatives and decorated by Mattheis company with two windows painted with the emblem of the Company and on a crest of Bishop D’Indico to the other.

This confirms that the original internal structure is different from the current (2015) and probably after the flood of 1966 instead of restoring the chapel second source is preferred to bring down what had been damaged following the infamous School of Poggi.

The New Chapters of the Brotherhood of Santa Maria of the Cross at the Temple in San Giuseppe

Art. 1. – È ripristinata nei propri antichi locali la compagnia di Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio presso la Chiesa Prioria di San Giuseppe in via dei Malcontenti.

Art. 2. – La Compagnia, composta di fratelli di ogni classe sociale purché di spirito veramente cristiano e di sorelle aggregate, è retta da un Correttore e da 6 Capitani.

Art. 3. – Il Correttore, salvo casi straordinari da giudicarsi volta per volta, dev’essere sempre il Parroco.

Art. 4. – La Confraternita, indipendente nella propria amministrazione e dipendente nella direzione al Correttore, sottoporrà all’approvazione dell’Ordinario i Capitoli ed ogni deliberazione di speciale interesse, sanzionata dall’approvazione dei Capitani, del Correttore e del Corpo Generale.

Art. 5. – I Capitani verranno eletti dal Corpo Genarale di Compagnia e scelti fra i primi 50 più anziani, che si chiameranno fratelli Conservatori.

Art. 6. – Il Corpo della Compagnia elegge ogni 3 anni i 6 Capitani, un Provveditore ed un Segretario, i quali sotto la Presidenza del Correttore ne costituiscono il Consiglio direttivo ed amministrativo, che a sua volta sceglie fra i Capitani il Governatore. Tutti gli eletti possono essere riconfermati soltanto per due volte.

Art. 7. – La Compagnia oltre all’esercizio di opere di pietà da praticarsi nel proprio Oratorio, si intende ripristinata per coadiuvare il Parroco in tutte le opere di Carità Cristiana necessarie ai tempi nuovi; per riunire in sé per mezzo di diverse sezioni tutte le opere morali, religiose, ed anche economiche di carattere cattolico che potessero nascere o già esistenti nella parrocchia, per favorire lo sviluppo e la devozione delle SS. Eucarestia nelle molteplici manifestazioni e per praticare per mezzo e con l’aiuto di un numero di aggregati o porti non Fratelli ma disciplinati nella Compagnia, l’esercizio prezioso del trasporto dei defunti.

Art. 8. – La Confraternita si raccoglierà ogni seconda domenica del mese o più spesso, se il Correttore ed il Consiglio dei sei lo reputassero necessario.

Art. 9. – I Fratelli godranno di tutti gli antichi privilegi concessi dai SS. Pontefici all’antica Confraternita dei Neri e dopo morte, oltre all’uffizio cantato in Compagnia, avranno N. 3 messe se Fratelli e N. 2 se Sorelle, celebrate nella Chiesa Parrocchiale.

Art. 10. – Il Parroco penserà al Provveditore per ogni trasporto funebre a pagamento una tassa da stabilirsi ed il Provveditore penserà a retribuire i porti aggregati.

Art. 11. – Il Provveditore avrà cura di provvedere tutto quello che sarà necessario per le funzioni e i diversi servizi della Confraternita. Riceverà gli ordini necessari dal Governatore per riguardo ai servizi funebri, Comunione agli infermi, Processioni o qualsiasi altra opera richiesta dal Parroco.

Art. 12. – I Fratelli indosseranno l’antica veste dei Neri e nelle pubbliche processioni o nei servizi avranno costantemente la buffa calata, paghi che solo Dio conosca le loro opere buone.

Witness, in the memories of the Dott. Giampiero Cioni

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I nuovi confratelli circa 1912
I presume to be the only survivor among those who participated in the activities of the “Company of the Blacks” riattivatasi Thanks to Mgr. D’Indico who championed the rebirth of the Company of Saint Mary of the Cross at the Temple.

At the time, around 1950, the prior of the parish of St. Joseph, Bishop Ulderico Masti, given the prevailing misery in the District of Santa Croce helped the families, where one death occurred in transporting the body. Poverty meant, for example, be fed throughout the day with a slice of chestnut polenta, called “pattona”, which costs pennies but kept well filled and without hunger stomach cramps.

At the time I was the youngest who was participating in the parade along with other that formed inside the Oratory of St Mary the Virgin of the Cross in the Temple in the San Giuseppe street. We dressed up with the typical long black robes and hood for the head, “he said buffa”, that only left the opening for the eyes. The tunic had a big red symbol of the Brotherhood on the chest.

If necessary, they were warned by the Governor of the time Master Silvestri, through Sacristan Fortini, a visit to the Oratory for the dressing and the usual prayers.

The Oratory, just after the entrance, had two small rooms that preceded the glass door that led into the chapel. In the left one he wore the priest, in the right one there were drawers that held our black robes, the crucifix and two long and robust auction that ended at the top with the fire torches. Above the two small rooms used as the sacristy, there was a loft, which was accessed by a spiral staircase from the room to the left, and it was used for the choir during the Christmas novenas, singing that the Priore wanted were made in the Oratory of blacks.

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Processione della Confraternita

The funeral procession started from the inside of the “Chapel” with the start of the crucifix and the two Twist, brought by the brothers, who were following six to ten brothers all processed by the priest.

Come to the house of the deceased some brothers come up to retrieve the coffin. The dead most of the time was in a rough-looking plywood wooden coffin provided by the city to the poorest. The brothers had to carry the coffin in the street and it was not always easy given the narrow stairs of the houses of the neighborhood fact, at times, it was used a towel to take to the streets the extinct and the empty coffin and light it could bring down upright to the stairs, into the street then there he reposed the corpse inside.

The funeral procession in prayer is directed to the Church of Sant. Giuseppe, for the funeral, followed by family and the people of acquaintances.

This type of service was done for all the parishioners for free, and sometimes, the family of the deceased having possibilities gave an offering to the Governor of the money that company then arranged to be divided among the members. I confess that at that time even the few lire were much like for a kid that I was, but I saw that the other brothers they accepted with pleasure.

With time, this memorial service, improving the economic situation, began to be the field of private funeral and Compagny of Blacks went running out his task.

Florence 16/12/2015 Dott. Giampiero Cioni



  • A) Della Compagnia di S. Maria della Croce al Tempio – Lezione recitata il 27 gennaio 1861 alla Società Colombaria – Gio. Battista Uccelli – Firenze Tipografia Calasanziana 1861
  • B) La Compagnia de’ Neri – L’arciconfraternita dei Battuti di Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio – di Eugenio Cappelleti – Felice Le Monnier editore 24 maggio 1927 Firenze
  • C) La Confraternita di Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio – D’indico – Stabilimento tipografico E. Ducci Firenze 1912
  • D) I “Giustiziati” a Firenze – (dal secolo XV al secolo XVIII) – Rondoni – Tipografia Galileiana Firenze 1901
  • E) Storia della Chiesa Prioria di Santa Maria del Giglio e di San Giuseppe – Fioretti – Forti Firenze 1855
  • F) Storia degli stabilimenti di beneficenza e di istruzione elementare gratuita della Città di Firenze – Passerini – Le Monnier Firenze 1853
  • G) Notizie istoriche delle chiese fiorentine – parte 2 del quartiere di Santa Croce – Richa – Viviani Firenze 1775
  • H) Osservazioni istoriche sopra i sigilli dei secoli bassi – Manni – Tomo V Firenze 1730
  • I) La vita dei più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architetti – Vasari – S.A. Milano

Jacopo Cioni

[cml_media_alt id='32']Jacopo Cioni[/cml_media_alt]

Company de’ Blacks in Florence Part 2

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