The Vertighe Fraternity of Monte San Savino was inaugurated on 5 May 2007. Since then, consecrated brothers and sisters have served within the fraternity and in the sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Vertighe that characterizes our presence here in the land of Arezzo. In fact, at the invitation of the then Archbishop Bassetti, Father Pancrazio joyfully accepted the mission of pastorally and materially guarding the shrine of Santa Maria delle Vertighe, a destination for many pilgrims and a place of reconciliation with God, where so many of the faithful have the opportunity to go to confession and participate in the Eucharist. This is the primary mission that the fraternity carries out here at Vertighe.
There are countless other activities of welcome (of those who want to meet God or make desert in their lives), of support for families or people in need, of collaboration with social and political realities to be a seed of hope in the area where the Lord has placed us.
As in all fraternities, also at Vertighe the day is marked by moments of community and personal prayer, work, fraternal life.
In addition, we share our journey with a wide array of lay people, both connected to the fraternity (“family members of Bethany”, who make an orderly journey of formation and sharing with us), and other lay people in love with the Lord who lend their service to the shrine’s activities. With them we organize religious and folkloric events, in continuity with local traditions, for the support of the shrine and other charitable activities, as well as to nourish the journey of faith and make the reality of the shrine and the fraternity known.
Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Vertighe
The sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Vertighe is the oldest Marian shrine in the diocese of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro: its origins date back to the year 1000-1100.
The miracle of the translation. We do not know with certainty why the sanctuary was built on this very spot. Tradition speaks of the miraculous translation of an entire chapel, with its venerated image, from the municipality of Asciano (SI) to the hill of Vertighe, following a dispute between two brothers over the ownership of the land where the chapel was located. The transfer is said to have taken place on 7 July 1100. We can however say with certainty that a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary already existed on this site in the year 1073..
The custody. Since the first half of the 13th century, the place has belonged to the Camaldolese monks, to whom we owe the building of the present church and adjoining convent and who officiated at the sanctuary until 1808. After the brief interlude of Napoleonic rule, the church was reopened in 1816, but both the sanctuary and the convent came under the protection of the Minor Friars. They are still the owners of the complex today, although since 2007, it is the Franciscan Fraternity of Bethany that officiates at the sanctuary and lives in the convent.
The venerated image. Originally, popular devotion was directed to a frescoed image on the vault of the ancient chapel. You can still recognize the three overlapping orders of old paintings, of which only the last one, depicting the Assumption of the Virgin into Heaven, is still partially appreciable. Later (probably in the early 1400s), devotion passed to the Madonna and Child Enthroned, painted on a panel by Margaritone of Arezzo (late 13th century).
The church. The present three-nave church, which contains the frescoed chapel and the image on a panel, dates back to the early 1500s, as does the external loggia supported by hexagonal brick columns. The large space behind the old chapel, containing the choir and organ, received its current layout between the early and mid-1600s. The bell tower is attributed to Andrea Contucci, known as Sansovino (1460-1529).
Patron saint of the Autostrada del Sole. In 1964, the Madonna of the Vertighe was proclaimed Patron Saint of the Autostrada del Sole, and for this reason, too, she is the destination of uninterrupted pilgrimages from all parts of Italy. The pastoral visits of Aretine bishops, documented as far back as the 16th century, show how the sanctuary of the Vertighe has always been a place of pilgrimage and prayer, especially for the population of the Valdichiana. Still today, Santa Maria delle Vertighe, the patron saint of the Autostrada del Sole, is a call for many Christians, a watchful presence for the valley, a place of silence and recollection that invites prayer.
The works. The main works that can be admired inside the sanctuary, in addition to the venerated Madonna and Child Enthroned surrounded by four stories of the Virgin (Annunciation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi and Assumption into Heaven) attributed to Margaritone of Arezzo (13th century), are the Crucifix painted on wood by Lorenzo Monaco (1370-1425) and the diptych of 1520 depicting an alleged Saint Savino (or perhaps Saint Augustine) and Saint Benedict, by Ridolfo di Domenico del Ghirlandaio. Furthermore, on the left side wall there is the Assumption of the Virgin into Heaven (Orazio Della Porta, 1590) and a depiction of the translation of the Chapel of the Vertighe, probably the work, at least in part, of the same author. The Nativity of the Virgin Mary (Santini, 1627) is frescoed on the right wall.
Let us secure our Sanctuary
Work to be done
Sanctuary opening hours
15.00 – 19.30
21.30 – 22.45
15.30 – 19.30
21.30 – 22.45