31 Gennaio 2023
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Sanctuary of Santa Maria a Pancole

Interesting places
Along the Via Francigena, five kilometers from San Gimignano, a miraculous image is hidden from the caves for centuries
The sanctuary of the Most Holy Mother of Divine Providence is located in Pancole, 5 kilometers from San Gimignano. At the same place where the church now stands, there was a branch on which, at the end of the 14th century, Pier Francesco Fiorentino had frescoed a Virgin that nursed the Child. The newsstand, overlooked, was covered with rocks until it disappeared into sight. A legend tells that in the early days of April 1668, Bartolomea Ghini, a shepherdess who died from birth, was particularly sad for her poverty and bringing her flock to her pasture began to mourn. A beautiful lady appeared to her, who asked her so much sadness. When Bartholomew replied, the lady reassured her by telling her to go home since she would find the pantry full of bread, filled oil, and barrel-shaped barrels of wine. Bartholomew realized that he had spoken and ran away at home by squatting parents, astonished to hear his daughter talk and see the full pantry. All the villagers went to the pasture where the little girl said she had seen the mysterious lady but found only a bunch of brambles. At this point the plants exploded and discovered that they hid the newsstand with the image that, according to Bartolomea, depicts the lady she had met. During the removal of the rows the icon was scratched by a rattle, the sign is still visible.

These news attracted a multitude of pilgrims, who brought offerings and materials for building a church that guarded the image, the building was erected and consecrated in just two years (1670). On July 14, 1944, retreating Germans undermined it and the building was almost completely destroyed: only the wall of the altar where the sacred image is located was saved. The small temple was rebuilt on the wall of the previous one and the Sanctuary was re-sacrificed on October 19, 1949. In addition to the Infant Virgin, the Child of Pier Francesco Fiorentino features two 17th century polychrome wood sculptures depicting St. Julian with his son Quirico and San Geminiano, both coming from the church of San Quirico. Hundreds of ex-vote are also kept.

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