The ancient church of San Leonardo in Arcetri lies on the south side of the river, just outside the city walls. In addition to several paintings from the Quattrocento, the church is home to an exquisite medieval pulpit, which originally belonged to the equally ancient church of San Pier Scheraggio.
The pulpit was transferred to San Leonardo in 1782 following the suppression of San Pier Scheraggio, which, two centuries earlier, had been incorporated into the building of the Palazzo degli Uffizi.
The pulpit (c. 1193 - 1250) comprises six marble reliefs, which illustrate scenes from the life of Christ. The seventh relief (depicting the Annunciation) made its way to the USA, where it is now on display in the Cloisters (New York).
The pulpit is often referred to as the pulpito di Dante. In the days before the building of the Palazzo dei Priori (today's Palazzo Vecchio), the church of San Pier Scheraggio (consecrated in 1068) was used as a venue for public meetings. It was also where, every two months, the city's eight priori (holders of the highest political office in Florence) were elected.
Dante (1265-1321) may have spoken from the pulpit during his tenure as one of the elected priors in 1300.
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