Montepulciano, as well as its surrounding territories of Valdichiana and Valdorcia, is rich of places of worship, mostly of catholic faith: among religious festivals and saints, there are also historic, cultural and touristic itineraries related to spirituality and faith. This adds up to the most classical local excellences, such as Vino Nobile, culture, music, nature and thermal baths.
Religion has been an important part of the history of Montepulciano, between churches, convents and the heritage of pagan cults and folk traditions. Each bell tower was extremely jealous of its saints, and countless are the sanctuaries that enshrine the catholic relics: they pass on the memory of miracle events and they beckon pilgrims and believers. I’m about to talk to you about a sanctuary that belongs to the diocese of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza, which is part of a religious itinerary, based on the work of the Chianciano Terme – Valdichiana Tourist Office.
Montepulciano – Shrine of the Madonna della Querce
At the Madonna della Querce
From the shrine of Sant’Agnese, we follow a winding road on the right towards Acquaviva, that brings us to the Shrine of the Madonna della Querce after around 3 kilometers. The shrine’s origins date from miracolous events linked to the worship of an image of Mary. On the sixth of June 1690, a certain Antonio di Giukio Rossi, riding through the wood of Querce was thrown from his horse. Believing that the place was infested by demons, he later placed a terracotta image of the Madonna in the hollow of an oak tree, which cured many conditions, in particular the possessed. The site popular with the faithful, jesuit fathers constructed a church, consecrated in 1699. The following century saw this very small church enlarged. After the jesuits left Montepulciano in 1775 a canon was appointed to serve it. Today the shrine is not regularly officiated.
The church’s external facade is of uniform sandstone and travertine ashlar. The central section is crowned by a triangular tympanum, an architectural feature also found in the portal and the large overlooking window. On the internal facade, polychrome glazed terracotta statues of l’Angelo annunziante e della Vergine Annunziata by Giovanni della Robbia are set inside two niches at either side of the entrance. The main religious feast falls on Holy Trinity Sunday and is organized bu the shrine’s parish, that of Sant’Agnese.