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Church of Consolation

Places of worship

A miraculous painting on the slopes of Castiglion Fiorentino

In Castiglion Fiorentino, a tabernacle held a painting of the Madonna and Child, attributed to Luca Signorelli. Eleanor of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de' Medici, is said to have regained her sight by praying in front of the sacred image and for this reason donated a large sum of money for the construction of a temple.

The first stone of the Church of Madonna of Consolation was laid in 1565. However, work continued for around forty years. The church is built upon an octagonal plan, and its exterior is interrupted about two-thirds of the way up by a wide ledge, which acts as a stylistic watermark. Below it, the church is Doric in style, with its rectangular windows built into niches; above it, an Ionic style predominates, punctured by large oculi. About the author of the work we have no definite information. For some, the hand of Vasari would be evident, while others attribute the design of the church to architect Antonio da Sangallo. Inside, in one of the side chapels, was placed an altar by Berrettini containing a fresco of the Madonna.

Although the work was completed in 1607, it was not until a year later that the roof was rebuilt following a collapse due to rain infiltration. The architects judged it better to replace it with a simple pyramidal roof. On the morning of 9 June 1967, a bolt of lightning caused the roof to collapse again, and only 16 years later was the church reopened.

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