San Jacopo di Lupeta
The church of San Jacopo di Lupeta is near the village of Vicopisano.
The original name of the church was San Mamiliano Vescovo, as you can read on the entrance portal. The church and a monastery with the name San Mamiliano are mentioned in writing as early as 757. A relief figure from the period between the 8th and 10th centuries has been preserved in the upper part of the facade and a few decorations on the north side. There is the representation of a Jerusalem cross and a tree of life.
The church of San Jacopo belonged to the Erimitani di Sant’Agostino for a long time, in the 15th century the name was changed to the one used today, but the church slowly fell into disrepair, mainly because the area was dangerous and there were many muggers. Pescia took over the church in the 16th century. The remains of the monastery were converted into residential houses in the 17th century and is now a private villa.
The meaning of the animal head with horns on the right above the entrance portal is controversial. There are many legends and stories about it. The church tower of San Jacopo is no longer as high as it used to be, it was hit by a bomb along with part of the church during World War II.
The church of San Jacopo is a good starting point for a hike. Jules Verne is said to have said: You get to know Vicopisano in 5 hours.
From the church of San Jacopo there is an excellent path to the medieval district of La Torre, you walk through the typical Tuscan landscape with vines, olives and cypresses. From La Torre you go on the ridge of the Col di Cincia. There you go on hiking trail 148 with a view of the Valdarno and Valera. You reach Le Mandrie di Sopra and the road from Spazzavento from there goes down to Campo dei Lupi. Here you can see the sea all the way down to the port of Livorno. You stay on trail 148 and you come to the Valle del Rio Grande, along the stream you go through the gate of the Molino di Papo and past a row of old mills, now converted into houses. After a few hundred meters you are back at the Church of San Jacopo.