The Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Chianni, or more simply Pieve di Chianni, is located in the territory of Gambassi Terme along the route of the Via Francigena.
The church has historic origins; it's known that it was the twentieth stop of Archbishop Sigeric's journey from Rome to Canterbury, documented in his diary as XX Sce Maria Glan.
From the information that has come down to us, it was discovered that at the beginning of the 11th century, the parishchurch included a cloister (of which no trace remains today) and that over a century later its construction was not yet finished. Around 1220, in the taxes established by Gambassi, a quota was foreseen for the completion of the church.
The Pieve di Chianni was under the control of the bishops of Volterra for many centuries, who used to carry out inspections to check the conditions. In the 1500s, the structure was determined unsafe and underwent extensive renovations, which was followed by numerous other interventions.
In spite of this, it's still possible to note the Volterra influence in the aesthetics of the building, found in the style of the workers and bearing similarity with the Cathedral of Volterra.
Built in sandstone, the parish is characterized by a warm shade of ocher, which stands out among the green surroundings.
The façade has a remarkable decorative structure with robust columns (reinforced around the mid-19th century). In addition to the central body - divided into three sections both inside and outside - the church includes a transept and rectory. The interior is divided into three naves by two rows of columns which support round arches.
The walls are typical of the simple and austere Romanesque style, while the capitals that top the columns are richly decorated, each different from the others. The second capital of the left row bears the name of Johannes Bunvivulus, probably one of the master builders of the parish church.
Another intriguing feature is the asymmetry of the columns: the right row rests directly on the ground base, while the left one is shorter and includes the addition of a pedestal.
The Pieve di Chianni can be visited in summer.
Since 2009, the buildings annexed to the church house a Pilgrims Hostel.