A retreat that developed from a Dominican hospice

The convent of Lecceto began as a retreat. It was founded by the Dominican friar Domenico Guerrucci in 1473 and constructed with the generous funds of a Florentine citizen, Filippo Strozzi, whose coat-of-arms can be seen throughout the church and convent. The hermitage stands at the end of a cypress-flanked road, which branches off from another very ancient one leading to the church of Lamole.

Originally limited to a portion of the ground floor and first floor, it was closed down in 1810 and converted into a private residence. In 1875 it was purchased by the archbishop of Florence, Eugenio Cecconi, who restored and enlarged it to turn it into the summer retreat of the college seminary. During the 1970s the convent underwent major restoration work and is today a spiritual retreat.

The church of Lecceto is one of the finest examples of late-15th-century Florentine architecture in the outlying areas of Florence. Filippo Strozzi had it decorated with wooden and marble artefacts created by Benedetto da Maiano and with an altarpiece by Domenico Ghirlandaio, works which disappeared in the 19th century. The main altar is adorned with a painting dated around 1480, the central part of which is by Neri di Bicci, who modified the 14th-century work.

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