The Pieve di San Lorenzo was built around 1150, during the Pisan domination. The building is mentioned in the Rationes decimarum of 1298; in 1511 it obtained the title of abbey and in August 1553 it was set on fire by the Turks allied with the French against the Habsburgs. The plan perfectly reflects the precepts of the First Council of Nicaea (325), the semicircular apse faces East (towards Jerusalem) so that on June 21 (summer solstice) the rising sun illuminates the interior. A rare peculiarity of this Pieve is the slight convergence of the side walls, which served to focus the visitor’s gaze towards the altar. The interior of the parish, formerly frescoed and covered with wooden trusses, was illuminated by three narrow mullioned windows and two cross-shaped openings located under the mighty bell gable and above the apse.
Romanesque church of San Lorenzo
The building repeats the usual iconography of the Romanesque churches of Elba. The stylistic and structural affinities with the parish church of San Giovanni in Campo are remarkable, such as the wall cladding, both outside and inside, made by means of rows of granite drafts of decreasing size upwards (as in the other buildings on the island , the space between the two claddings is filled with a conglomerate of pebbles, stone fragments and lime). At the top of the facade, the church preserves the remains (two pillars) of a mighty bell gable that surmounted it.
With no roof, it preserves the original forms almost intact: with an apsidal hall, it maintains the remains of a bell gable at the top of the facade. The well-kept facing is made up of rows of perfectly polished ashlars.
How to reach the Pieve
The Pieve di San Lorenzo is located on the western side of the island, along the road that connects Marciana Marina to Marciana Alta, about 3 km before reaching the latter we can identify the remains of the church on our right.