||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (April 2009)|
In the Middle Ages, a pieve was a rural church with a baptistery, upon which other churches without baptisteries depended.
The Italian word pieve is descended from Latin plebs which, after the expansion of Christianity in Italy, was applied to the community of baptized people. Most pievi appeared in the 5th century, as Christianity expanded in the rural areas outside the main cities; in the 9th-10th centuries they also added bell towers.