Cookie disclaimer

Our site saves small pieces of text information (cookies) on your device in order to deliver better content and for statistical purposes. You can disable the usage of cookies by changing the settings of your browser. By browsing our website without changing the browser settings you grant us permission to store that information on your device. I agree

The sacrilege of San Martino

The church of San Martino is situated along the road that leads from Montepulciano to the Madonna della Querce. At one time, there was a wall with a niche in it where a Virgin with Child was depicted, called San Martino because it was close to the hospital of the same name. There was also a court nearby where the cries and curses of the men playing “bocce” could be constantly heard. A certain Vincenzo del Mincio lost everything he possessed in a match. He lost his temper and took his rage out on the image of the Virgin Mary, striking it violently with a bowling ball. But the wall, instead of cracking or becoming damaged where it was hit, remained intact, however, the side of the Virgin Mary’s head showed signs of bruising as if it were made of living flesh. And it stayed that way and still bears the marks in memory of the miracle. As for the player, he immediately fell to the ground struck by lightning and was disfigured for the rest of his days. The commotion around the story led to the construction of the church of San Martino (also called, not surprisingly, Madonna della boccia). The miraculous image was taken to the cathedral, where it still remains and was crowned.
The act of sacrilege really did occur around 1580 and the church was built in 1588. The move took place in 1617, in an altar that is considered a source of numerous blessings.