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Antonio Cavallucci, Madonna con Bambino
Places of worship

The Sanctuary of the Presentation of Holy Mary

Discovering the shrine’s socio-cultural origins

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Monte Argentario

Monte Argentario hosts a sanctuary dedicated to the Presentation of Holy Mary; it is the home of the Congregation of the Impassioned Fathers. The sanctuary was built in 1733 by Paolo Danesi di Ovada, the congregation’s founder—who later became Saint Paolo della Croce (Saint Paul of the Cross). About a kilometer from this structure, along the same road, you’ll find the Convent of S. Giuseppe. It appears to have been built by Saint Paul of the Cross himself. He had landed by chance in Porto Ercole in 1721 and decided to found his hermitage in the area. The land was granted to him by the Bishop of Pitigliano who gave him the hermitage of Sant’Antonio. The founder later decided to construct a new building in a place that the Virgin Mary had indicated to him.

Construction work on the shrine was put off for a period of time due to the war of Succession between the Spanish and the Austrians. Once the area was incorporated into the Kingdom of Naples, construction work was launched once more thanks to contributions by King Charles III of Naples and many families from Orbetello. On September 14, 1737, the sanctuary was solemnly blessed and opened for worship. In 1739, the church’s left altar was built and dedicated to the Archangel Michael. In 1746, the Chapel of Mary Magdalene was built.

The church’s vault was restored in 1779 and one year later, the bell tower was built. In 1781, Michele Rusconi led a general reconstruction project, perfecting the structure’s frames, stuccos, capitals and additional altars. In 1794, its orchestral area was built and in 1885, two chapels were opened near the entrance. The façade was constructed in 1856 inspired by Neoclassical designs.
(Source: Province of Grosseto)

Porto Santo Stefano
Coves, beaches and steep narrow streets
Porto Santo Stefano is a charming tourist destination with an impressive seafaring tradition as well as being the most important town in the Monte Argentario area. The town, north of the headland, occupies the picturesque bay dominated by the Spanish Fortress and, together with Porto Ercole, is part of the municipality of Monte Argentario, located south of the mountain but in a similar ...