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Toto and the temple of San Biagio

It is said that a shepherd named Toto or Totino, a simple and pious man, lived in Montepulciano. One day he saw his oxen kneeling in front of the image of the Virgin Mary, left in the ruins of the church which had been destroyed. Toto promptly cleaned it up and tried to repair the ruins as best he could. Whenever he passed by, he stopped to pray, asking for blessings for all the unfortunate people he knew and the blessings were always granted, but people did not take him seriously. Toto, however, took the malicious rumours seriously spread by people who said that the baby, his wife was expecting, would not his because he was always away grazing his animals. Blinded by jealousy, Toto cut open the stomach of his unfortunate wife. At that moment, a light appeared in the darkness of the room with the image of the Virgin Mary found among the ruins. At the same time the baby’s head emerged and, miraculously, spoke, reassuring the father of his wife’s innocence, noting the intercession of the Virgin Mary whom he had previously honoured. Mother and child were saved and Toto, with the other people present, bore witness to the miracle and glorified the Virgin Mary. The shepherd began to go around the district and villages to raise the money needed to build a church worthy of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Everyone responded generously and so, the beautiful temple of the Madonna di San Biagio was built, below the fortress of Montepulciano, the work of Antonio da San Gallo. The miraculous image is preserved there while two statues commemorate Toto and his wife with the baby emerging from her breast to proclaim her innocence.