Caprese Michelangelo was maybe founded in the Early Middle Ages as a fortified town controlling the valley of the stream Singerna, at the times of the war between Langobards and Byzantines, in the 11th century is described in documents as property of the lords of Galbino who gave the city to the Monastery of Camaldoli.
Point of contention for all of the 13th century between Arezzo and the Guidi Counts of Romena, it was conquered by Guido Tarlati, lord and bishop of Arezzo, after the long siege led by his brother Pier Saccone. With the fall of Arezzo under the power of Florence in 1384, Caprese became a Florentine town.
The 6th of March 1475, in this place was born Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the most important geniuses of the Renaissance. His father Ludovico, part of the Florentine aristocracy, was at those times the podestà (high magistrate) of Chiusi and Caprese. In 1913 the town changed its name from Caprese to Caprese Michelangelo, to honour its most famous citizen.
The fortress, from which there is a panoramic view of the Tiber Valley and the Catenaia Alp, after a long time of abandonment and ruin was restored some time between the second half of the 19th century and the 20th century. Since 1875 it houses the Birth house of Michelangelo Buonarroti museum, that includes three main buildings: the high courtyard, restored in 1960s, the High Magistrate’s house built in the first half of the 5th century where the genius was born, and Clusini Palace, built in the second half of the 15th century. Included in the museum is also the big garden. Amongst the exposed pieces of art there are a series of gypsum casts made by Michelangelo, a collection of small sculptures by various artists from the 19th century and a remarkable collection of sculptures from the 20th century. The exhibition itinerary continues with the anastatic copies of documents concerning Michelangelo, like his birth certificate and other valuable books from the Municipal Historical Archive.
The most famous religious place in Caprese is the 13th-century church of st. John the Baptist (San Giovanni Battista), right outside the city walls, for the fact that in this church, on the 8th of March 1475 Michelangelo was baptised here. Inside the church there is still a baptismal font.
Inside the municipal area there are also the Casella Retreat (Eremo della Casella), a Franciscan hermitage that was built after the visit of St. Francis in 1224 during his last journey from La Verna to Assisi, the church of St. Paul from the 11th century, where according to tradition St. Francis stayed in 1215, the church of St. Cristoforo, founded in the 10th century by the Benedictines, both the two churches are in the small town of Monna. The church of St. Paul depended on the Abbey of St. Flora and Lucilla in Arezzo from the 13th century and in 1520 entered the newborn diocese of Sansepolcro.
The rural church of St. Ippolito and Cassiano in the locality of San Cassiano in Stratino, probably of early Christian origin, was the first baptismal church in Caprese but in the 12th century was given to Camaldolese monks and after to Florentine Benedictines that had the church restored in the first half of the 16th century.
The Abbey of St. Martino in Tifi, cited since the 11th century as a Camaldolese abbey but founded by St. Romualdo according to tradition. From the church of the abbey comes the “Madonna with Child between the Saints Martino, Benedetto, Romualdo and Michael Archangel”, a triptych made in 1484 possibly by the Camaldolese monk Giuliano Amidei that now is inside the Michelangelo Museum.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Forest (Santuario della Madonna della Selva), located on the street that connects Caprese Michelangelo and Ponte alla Piera, was built in 1635, a year after the apparition of the Virgin Mary to a girl. The small chapel next to the church of st. Mary in Zenzano keeps a rock on which, according to tradition, St. Francis leaned in order to rest himself, during a journey to Mount Verna.
Church of San Paolo
Church of San Giovanni Battista
Birthplace of Michelangelo Buonarroti
Birthplace of Michelangelo Buonarroti
Museum and birthplace of Michelangelo Buonarroti