As we turn over the pages of this volume Art in the Serchio Valley our eyes alight on a long series of works of architecture, sculpture, painting, goldsmith’s work and textiles that testify how, over the centuries, the towns of the Serchio valley have communicated their human, civic and religious feelings through their art. Looking at these works we clearly realise how each type of art, precisely because it is a genuinely human expression, is capable of manifesting, through intelligence and skill, the vital needs that drive men to achieve their personal and collective aims. This is true for many of the works shown here, distinctive signs of the communities of the Serchio valley around which there has formed – and there continues to form – the identity of the people who live there. If then we take the trouble not only to look at but closely to observe these works, we come to realise that true art directs us towards the highest values, the essential ones for the life of a person. It is not surprising, therefore, that most of these works belong to sacred art and are intended to evoke and glorify, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God, incarnate in Christ, reflected in the most holy Virgin, in the angels and saints. Truly this work of scholarship on the artistic patrimony of the Serchio valley has the merit of demonstrating how true art is an excellent instrument for understanding and getting to know the varied human, cultural, social, technical and religious dimensions of a community that lives rooted in a particular territory. It is our hope that this volume will help to increase awareness of the need to safeguard the works that often, for various reasons, are left in precarious condition. In offering our congratulations for the excellent result to the editors Annamaria Ducci and Stefano Martinelli, to the other scholars, to the photographer Irene Taddei and to the publisher Romano Citti, and in thanking them in the name of the Archdiocese of Lucca, we express the hope that the book will help to make better known not only the history and the culture, but also the faith of the people of the Serchio valley.
Don Daniele Martinelli
Vice Director of the ‘Ufﬁcio per l’Arte Sacra e i Beni culturali’ of the Archdiocese of Lucca