The Basilica of Santa Maria all’Impruneta is one of Tuscany’s three best-known Marian sanctuaries. Its fame rests on the cult of a much-venerated effigy and on the traditional history of its loss and subsequent miraculous recovery. Tradition has it that a sacred image of the Virgin painted by the apostle Luke was brought to Tuscany in the third century by Saint Romulus and his acolytes, but then hidden underground for fear of persecution. The legend of its recovery was first recorded in writing by a l4th-century priest named Stefano Buondelmonti and in marble by an as yet unidentified l5th-century Tuscan sculptor in the form of an antependium for the Saint Mary altar, now exhibited in the sanctuary Treasury. The consecration of the church was on 3rd January 1060. Gradually throughout the fourteenth century the edifice was transformed from parish church into a sanctuary centred on the cult of the miraculous effigy. The interior was rebuilt on the model of Santissima Annunziata by architect Alessandro Saller, who installed an opulent carved, painted, gilded and coffered wooden ceiling, finished in 1717. The useless and mindless aerial bombing of 27th and 28th July 1944 destroyed a large part of the buildings and destroyed or severely damaged many works of art. Only the effigy itself was unscathed.
Basilica di Santa Maria all'Impruneta
Piazza Buondelmonti, 28, 50023 Impruneta FI, Italia