The discovery of the artistic heritage of the Municipality of Torrita di Siena is a journey through its churches, some of the most beautiful in the Valdichiana Senese, which jealously guard unique pieces of art attributable to the Sienese school, but not only, and also to a surprising Donatello .

The Church of Santa Flora and Lucilla

The church of Santa Flora and Lucilla for the richness and typological variety of the works contained within it can be considered a small museum and therefore constitutes an obligatory stop for tourists and for the art lover who comes to visit Torrita .

The structure highlights a heterogeneous stratification of interventions that prevent easy reading and certain dating. It can be hypothesized, starting from the most evident architectural elements, a chronology that oscillates between the 12th and 13th centuries. The only certain reference to which it is possible to draw, given the absence of documentary sources ascribable to the 12th century, is constituted by a parchment preserved in the Siena State Archives of 1233 which shows that Torrita was equipped with a own municipal organization. Like many churches in the area, the building shows an architectural setting still tenaciously linked to the Romanesque tradition, with a single nave plan. The first embryo of the church dates back to the 9th -10th century, although the last interventions on the external structure date back to the 15th century. As stated on the travertine plaque, set in the facade, the building was restored and consecrated by the will of the Rector Messer Sano on 10 March 1425.

The interior, on the other hand, is the result of various tampering over the centuries, most recently the massive intervention, which took place between the 40s and 50s of the last century, which mainly affected the baroque altars completely dismantled in the wake of the Gothic Revival. which set itself the goal of rediscovering the purity and original layout of the buildings. Inside you can admire the most significant works of art by Torrita, the most precious of which is undoubtedly the marble bas-relief better known as “Donatello’s Lunette”.

Chiesa di Santa Flora e Lucilla

The blood of the Redeemer

The Redeemer rising in the midst of a glory of angels and seraphim, this is the scene represented in the lunette attributed to Donatello and exhibited inside the Church of Santa Flora and Lucilla. However, the attribution of the work to Donatello has been much discussed by critics and unanimously considered part of a composite tabernacle that came out of the Florentine master’s workshop, but the original location is not known.

Until 1923 the work, originally owned by the Hospital Administration, was walled up on the entrance door of the Oratory of the Madonna delle Nevi, only to be transferred in 1926 to the hospital vestibule and subsequently sold illegally in the antiques market.

Fulvio Corsini, sculptor and teacher at the Institute of Fine Arts in Siena, was therefore commissioned to make a copy in Carrara marble to replace the original. The original, however, following investigations initiated by the judiciary, was traced and returned to the Torritese community.

Lunetta di Donatello
"Il sangue del Redentore" attribuito a Donatello

The Church of Santa Croce

Built in 1642, the church is characterized by a red brick facade with a portal with sober and elegant shapes. The Baroque-style interior is characterized by the presence of three altars. The central one is dedicated to the Crucifix, where you can admire a carefully carved wooden crucifix preserved in a reliquary. Behind the main altar there is instead a painting on canvas from the seventeenth century, recently attributed to the Sienese painter Rutilio Manetti, where St. Charles Borromeo together with St. Francis of Assisi are represented, both in the act of prayer in front of the Virgin and Child. The altar on the left is instead dedicated to the Madonna of Loreto, represented in a wooden sculpture better known as the “Black Madonna”. The one on the right is instead dedicated to the Madonna di Canoscio.
Chiesa di Santa Croce - Photo Credits

The Church of the Santissima Annunziata

The church was built in the mid 1500s. The brick facade has a triangular tympanum decorated with a row of corbels. On the top is the brick bell tower which ends in a small dome. The interior, with a single nave, is embellished with rich eighteenth-century stucco decorations. Among the paintings, once preserved, the Madonna with child and the saints Domenico and Caterina, work of the Sienese school of the seventeenth century. On the main altar, which originally housed the canvas by Francesco Vanni with the Annunciation, currently in the Church of Sante Flora and Lucilla, there are two statues of the Prophet Isaiah and King David. Attached to the church is the oratory of the Most Holy Crucifix, on whose walls there was an eighteenth-century Via Crucis in glazed terracotta. In 1843 the room was equipped with an elegant baptismal font in yellow Siena marble. Today the building is deconsecrated and houses the headquarters of the Contrada Porta Nova.
Chiesa della SS Annunziata - Photo Credtis CTA Il Borgo

The Church of the Madonna delle Nevi

The Oratory of the Madonna delle Nevi, developed from a street Majesty, is the result of various modifications and extensions. It is said that following a miraculous event that occurred in 1525, during a serious plague, the community of Torrita invoked the Virgin to end the epidemic.
The plague had no more victims from the 5th of August of that same year, the feast day of the Madonna delle Nevi. The chapel, over the centuries has undergone enlargements, again as a result of prodigies connected to the Marian cult.

Inside, the fresco on the altar wall dominates the scene, making it a small and secret “Sistine Chapel”. The work, attributed to Girolamo Benvenuto, depicts the Assumption of Mary in the center, with the Virgin surrounded by musician angels and at the bottom St. Thomas grabbing the belt. In the upper niches we find the Saints Costanzo and Flora and in the two lower niches on the left we find San Rocco, the saint healer of the plague, and on the right San Sebastiano, the saint who prevents it, while in the interior are depicted Santa Lucilla and the apostles Peter and Paul. Above the Assumption we find the Annunciation.

You enter the chapel through a loggia preceded in turn by an elegant brick Serliana with sandstone columns. The entrance to the building is made possible thanks to a travertine staircase. In the tympanum of the entrance door we find the second reproduction of Donatello’s lunette in terracotta.

The Church of the Madonna delle Fonti

The church is located outside the historic center, on the road that leads to Sinalunga in the locality of “Le Fonti”, from which it takes its name. The building, erected in 1665, was built to commemorate the miracles that occurred around a terracotta image of the Madonna, now lost, once placed on the ancient source. It seems that in ancient times, in the same place where the church now stands, there was a temple dedicated to the cult of the pagan divinity of Ianus (Giano Bifronte).

On the façade, plastered and enriched by the refined brick decoration, there is a valuable portal. The interior, in the form of a Latin cross, houses on the side altar a canvas with a saint adoring the crucifix by Francesco Franci (1698).

The Church is located along the stretch of the Via Lauretana that affects Torrita.