Founded in 1602 at the request of Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici, the Basilica della Madonna della Fontenuova is located in the heart of Monsummano Termeand sits on the site of a historic tabernacle, today part of the high altar, that depicts the image of the Virgin and Child, which many miracles have been attributed to.
Grand Duke Ferdinando decreed the construction of the sanctuary at the place where a miraculous fountain once flowed, assigning the job to Gherardo Mechini, who had previously worked at the Medici villa in Montevettolini.
On December 30th that same year, Prince Cosimo layed the first stone of the new sanctuary, which finished construction in 1605.
The building, characterized with rare elegance and sobriety, is highly interesting thanks to the uniformity of its style and for the harmonious continuity between the architecture and precious decorations. Vaunting a traditional Latin-cross plan, with just one nave, the sanctuary is surrounded on three sides by a portico from which, climbing a steep staircase, visitors can reach the fountain.
Under the portico, visitors can admire 14 lunettes made between 1630 and 1633 by Giovanni Mannozzi da Sangiovanni, depicting the history of the sanctuary and the miracles performed by the Virgin of Fontenuova. The beautiful entrance portal was carved by the carpenter Giovanni Desideri from Pistoia, the man behind the church’s wooden roof.