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The scent of Savory

In Montepulciano, in the church of Santa Maria dei Servi, there is a fresco dedicated to the Madonna della Santoreggia, a fine work by the school of Siena, dating back to the fourteenth century. Legend has it that after the church was destroyed, a pious nun, Margherita di Giovannello, collected the image that is still venerated today from the ruins of the building, and took it with her. Two years later, in the building where the painting was located, a great light shone. The people, attracted by this event, saw a band of angels ascend from the house who, singing celestial music, carried the image of the Virgin into glory, going to lay her in the same church, which had been rebuilt. Everyone smelled a wonderful scent that spread in the air: it was that of the plant called Savory, which grows in abundance there. Hence the name of the fresco.