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Nights of terror under the oak tree

The road between Montepulciano and Chiusi was once very dangerous due to the presence of brigands, wizards and sorcerers, spirits and devilish beings hidden in the dense forest that covered the area at that time. Antonio di Giulio Rossi often passed by there on horseback, especially at night. On the night of June 6, 1690, the spirits he had always avoided decided to punish him, lining up to torment him. The poor traveller found himself faced with sinister flashes, sulphurous lights and hideous-looking beings that made his horse rear and made him fall off. He was found on the ground the following morning by people passing by and taken to the village to be looked after. After some time, when he plucked up the courage again to ride along that terrible road, he first went to place an image of the Virgin and Child where he had risked his life, so that it would protect anyone who happened to pass by. He placed it in the hollow of a large oak tree, so that it would not be removed or damaged. From that moment, there were no more fearful visions, spirits no longer appeared and the tormenting stopped. Out of devout gratitude, Rossi decided to turn the rudimentary shrine into a chapel built of bricks and replace the original image of little value with another more beautiful one. However, when he tried to remove the image of the Virgin Mary from the shelter of the oak, he did not succeed. The image was firmly fixed to the trunk of the tree. No matter how hard he tried, he could not remove it even when he tried to cut the wood with an axe, it broke. The miracle attracted an immense crowd and many asked for blessings and obtained them. So, a chapel was built on the site and then, the church in which the image is kept and the trunk of the oak in the atrium, protected by a gate.