Sanctuary of the Madonna of Val di Prata

The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Val di Prata is located near the town along the road that leads to Arcidosso and the mountain, with a panoramic view that opens onto Montelaterone and Amiata. Mentioned in a document written by Pope Innocent III in 1198, the first year of his pontificate, the church of Val di Prata is referred to again in 1218 by Pope Honorius III in a letter addressed to the bishop of Chiusi, who boasted rights over this district, and again in 1228. From existing documents, however, it can be deduced that even before the year 1000, a church dedicated to the Virgin existed on this site. The church of Val di Prata houses the venerated fifteenth-century image of the Madonna and Child called the Consolation, which is said to have been found miraculously by a shepherdess. In 1864, Pope Pius IX granted a plenary indulgence in perpetuity to those who confessed and communicated in Val di Prata on 4th, 5th and 6th June each year, the anniversary of the coronation of the Sacred Image by the Sacred Chapter of St Peter in Rome in 1747. The plan of the sanctuary is rectangular with a terminal scarsella, its facade being like a hut, animated by corner pilasters with an entablature and an architraved portal. Adorning the sides of the church there are two stucco decorated altars: one dedicated to St Anthony and one to the Madonna del Carmine, with two dedicatory epigraphs marking their realization in 1691 and 1692 respectively. Over the altars hangs a canvas by Giuseppe Nicola Nasini depicting the Madonna “del Carmine” with St Teresa of Avila, St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Philip Neri and St Helena.