A tour in the Tuscan countryside to discover an ‘icon’ of Italian landscape
Taking a tour in the Tuscan countryside, there are some images that are really very attractive and familiar as they are part of the Italian landscapes imagery, such as the ones you can see if you visit the Val d’Orcia by bicycle or by car. It is by the side of the provincial road N.146, from San Quirico to Pienza, that at once you can recognise, almost with surprise, what by popularity, is a true Tuscan landscape’s ‘icon’, photographed by thousands of tourists every year: the the Madonna Vitaleta Chapel.
The building, which evokes such an everyday and familiar atmosphere because of its small size, the well and the cypresses flanking it, has a surprisingly fascinating history to be told.
Visiting the San Francesco Church to go over the events…
To go over the events of the chapel, what you have to do is to go back to San Quirico d’Orcia by riding on the same Provincial N.146. Once you enter the Historic center, it’s convenient to visit San Francesco Church. The interior, dated back to the 13th-century building, in this day shows a neoclassical renovation, but it retains older works of art, among which stands out the wood Annunciation group, by the sienese sculptor Francesco di Valdambrino, an artist who lived in 15th-century but still endowed to the figures an elegant and slender aspect that was typical of Gothic style and, on the main altar, a beautiful statue of the Virgin. The latter, a glazed terracotta made by the Florentine workshop of Della Robbia, has been kept in this church since the mid-nineteenth century, but before that, it was kept in the small church of Vitaleta.
A figure of particular worship
This figure of the Virgin has always been an object of particular worship by faithful since centuries and had been especially invoked when in the past, in conditions of particular calamities such as torrential rains or prolonged droughts, the statue was shifted from the chapel to San Francesco church, where, with incessant prayers, faithful asked and obtained divine intercession in order to to get the ceasing of the scourges that harshly hit the fields.
These are popular stories, similar to those of other “miraculous” figues, but that still does not explain why, a statue of such great executive quality like the Vitaleta’s, was originally kept within a modest countryside chapel. To find out it you can book a guided trip of the Val d’Orcia whose tour will bring you to discover the beauty of the Tuscan countryside ⟣