Santuario di Santa Maria delle Grazie a San Giovanni Valdarno
Via Ubaldino Peruzzi, 52027 San Giovanni Valdarno AR, Italia
The construction of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Valdarno dates back to 1484, following the so-called miracle of “Monna Tancia” attributed to the Madonna, but over the years it has been enlarged and modified several times, such as after a serious fire in 1596 and after World War II bombings.
The architectural structure is enhanced by the portico and the series of arched windows on the first floor, and culminates in the triangular gable, on which four statues lie (of the saints Augustinus, John the Baptist, Lawrence and Francis) and in the bell tower above. In the centre of the bottom wall of the hall, between the two staircases, there is a large polychrome terracotta by Giovanni della Robbia (1513) depicting the Assumption.
Inside the basilica is arranged in three naves, separated by aisles resting on monolithic columns, Corinthian capitals and lowered arches. The domed vaults were frescoed at the end of the 17th century by Giuseppe Nasini and Vincenzo Ferrati. The upper altar (behind which is a 14th-century Madonna and Child from Florence) was rebuilt after 1596 based of the designs of Bernardo Buontalenti.
To the left of the altar, three moments from the miracle of Monna Tancia are frescoed. According to Vasari, these were painted by a student of Perugino.
In the adjoining rooms is located the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie Museum, a small but important museum of sacred art displaying numerous paintings arriving from churches and monasteries in town and in the area, including a true Renaissance masterpiece: the Annunciation by Beato Angelico.