Discovering the Jubilee in Tuscany: Grosseto and Pitigliano

To celebrate the Year of Mercy, every diocese will open "Holy Doors" in its territory. A perfect opportunity to visit some of the finest regional churches

In Southern Tuscany, the Jubilee of Mercy will accommodate pilgrims and the faithful in churches, chapels and monasteries scattered throughout the Maremma. In the Diocese of Grosseto, you can cross a "Holy Door" without leaving the city, but, as in any other part of the region, the possibility of redemption is made all the sweeter by the opportunity to visit some of the area's hidden jewels.

 

Starting directly in Grosseto, we discover that the first Jubilee church is precisely the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, built at the end of the thirteenth century under the direction of maestro Sozzo Rustichini, who also participated in the construction of the facade of Siena Cathedral. The cathedral has since been extensively remodelled, but the southern side still retains much of its original appearance. The portal is especially beautiful and richly decorated with plant, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic motifs. Still in the diocese that bears the name of the capital is the Church of San Martino in Batignano, a small church built in the twelfth century with materials recycled from the nearby Ancient Roman city of Roselle.

 

 

We continue our little pilgrimage in the Maremma with the Jubilee churches of the Diocese of Pitigliano, Sovana and Orbetello. First we visit the ancient Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Pitigliano. The first mention of a church dedicated to these two saints dates back to 1061. In 1276 there were three, one of which certainly stood where the cathedral now stands and later became a "collegiate church", taking the name of Saints Peter and Paul. It has, over the centuries, been renovated many times, especially in 1509. Of particular interest is the bell tower, which was originally used for civil and military activities. The structure originally included only two orders. In the Medici era, a third was added, entrusting the bell tower.

 

 

We continue to the small and truly "secret" Sanctuary dell'Addolorata in Cerreto in Sorano, built in 1854 to replace the degraded church of Santa Maria dell'Aquila and to mark the apparition of Our Lady to a local girl in that exact spot. The miracle was celebrated once more with the addition of a chapel in the early twentieth century.

 

 

We conclude by gliding on the slopes of Monte Argentario, where, lost in the woods, is the beautiful Shrine of the Presentation of Mary, the mother house of the Congregation of the Padri Passionisti. The construction of this place of worship on the headlands was undertaken in 1733 by Paolo Danesi Ovada, founder of the Congregation and who later became San Paolo della Croce. The saint accidentally landed in Porto Ercole in 1721 and decided to found his retreat on the mountain after the bishop of Pitigliano granted him the hermitage of San Antonio. As the religious followers increased, the friar decided to build a new building on a site shown to him by the Virgin. After an interruption caused by the war of succession between the Spanish and the Austrians, construction work resumed and on 14 September 1737 the sanctuary was opened for worship.

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