The Sanctuary Of Santa Maria Della Quercia
The Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Quercia is the most important shrine in the province of Viterbo. His story begins in 1417 when master Baptist Luzzante made to paint the image of the Virgin Mary on a flat tile to a painter called Monetto which was then hung from an oak tree. The beginning of the devotion to the Madonna della Quercia begins in 1467 when a rider chased by enemies fell at the foot of the oak where it hung the sacred image miraculously and became invisible to his pursuers; according to others goes back to a plague that in that year shocked the Alto Lazio and 30,000 devotees rushed under the oak tree to invoke pity and after a week of prayer, the plague ceased. Following these events, between 1467 and 1469, it was decided to build a church and then built the first sanctuary. Thanks to the Dominican Fathers who saw it as their protector, the devotion to the Virgin of the Oak kept growing and spread throughout Italy and also in Europe. Inside the sanctuary we can see the gold covered with coffered ceiling, designed by Antonio da Sangallo and the marble temple of Andrea Bregno enclosing the miraculous tile. Also beautiful cloister and the former convent built and designed by Giuliano da Sangallo. The three entrance portals are surmounted by lunettes in terracotta by Andrea Della Robbia: the central lunette depicting the Madonna della Quercia, the two side St Peter and St Thomas Aquinas. The frescoes by Ghirlandaio at the sides of the temple and some other frescoes of the school of Sebastiano del Piombo.