Pilgrims were in need of refuge and care, and so the Spedale (a sort of combination-hospitality and healthcare center) set up some lands where they grew food for the numerous visitors.
Another hospitality and refuge area was the Leonini Gardens, accessible through three different entrances, with one of them right in front of the church of Santa Maria Assunta. All was well within easy reach for weary travellers, from physical rejuvenation to that of the more spiritual variety.
The Leonini Gardens, created by the architect Diomede Leoni, are a beautiful example of an Italian-style garden, where the boxwood hedges forming a Malta cross give way to a holly oak wood.Watching over the garden, where its more contrived and natural elements meet, is the two-faced statue of Giano, a divinity that Romans commonly placed at intersections as a symbol of good fortune.
People can enter freely into the Gardens, and it’s been this way since the beginning, because this was always a place aimed at offering pilgrims quiet spiritual respite.