The Medieval village of Capalbio: The legend of the painting “The Providence Oratory” in Capalbio
Located in the province of Grosseto, on the border between Lazio and Tuscany, the charming village of Capalbio offers a truly unique place to spend a relaxing holiday, not only for its landscape, but also for its history and culture. This time we will focus on the legend around the mysterious painting of the Oratory of Providence.
Capalbio: a medieval village between woods and countryside
Capalbio, also known as the "last village of the Maremma" for its position in the extreme South of Tuscany, is a small town that has just over 3800 inhabitants: it rises on the hills of the Argentario peninsula, surrounded by the typical countryside of the Tuscan landscape and by large wooded stretches. The historic center of Capalbio dates back to the thirteenth-fourteenth century: it is rich in beautiful views of stone, alleys and romantic stairways with an ancient flavor, which lead to the old city walls and to the Rocca Aldobrandesca. In addition to the village, those who visit Capalbio can not miss the Tarot Garden: a reminiscent of Antoni Gaudí’s works in the Parc Guell of Barcelona. Finally, those who go out of Capalbio, in its surroundings, will find Lake of Burano: a coastal basin that houses an extensive oasis of aquatic fauna managed by the WWF, where you can observe many species of birds and fish with the possibility of making guided tours.
The legend of the painting of the oratory of Capalbio
Capalbio is not only famous for its architectural beauty or for its nature, but it is also the destination of many tourists who decide to visit this village because they are intrigued by the legend about the Oratory of Providence and by the painting that disappeared. Just beyond the walls of the historic center stands a church dating back to the sixteenth century. It is said that before the construction of the oratory, inhabitants and travelers often stopped to pray in front of a small capital that housed a wonderful painting depicting the Madonna, too beautiful to remain on the wall of a modest place. So the locals decided that the painting should be moved to a more appropriate place, like the church that stood in the center of the village. But when they removed the wall to move it, the wall suddenly reformed and the painting miraculously reappeared. Every time that the wall was removed, the painting was recreated where it was. The villagers then understood the divine desire: a new church must be built right around the painting of the Madonna. According to the legend, this was the origin of the Oratory of Providence and the reason for its construction. Today the miraculous painting no longer exists (if it ever existed), lost over the centuries and deleted by the spending of the time. The church, since its foundation, has changed and was partly rebuilt during the seventeenth century, when some new paintings were made and they can still be admired today.
Most of them belong to the early sixteenth century and it seems that they have been made by unknown artists of the school of Perugia, probably students of Pinturicchio – a painter who lived between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Among the most beautiful murals that are preserved here, you can see Madonna con Bambino (Madonna with Child), San Girolamo (Saint Jerome) and San Sigismondo (Saint Sigismund) and a painting of Saints Cosmas and Damian visible in the left porch.
In 1792 the painting of Madonna della Provvidenza (Madonna of Providence) was painted by Pietro Calderoni, from which the oratory took its name. Today this church is not open every day: you can visit only on Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in summer and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in winter. For any kind of information, you can contact the tourist center of Capalbio by phone or email.
Where to stay: Hotel Residence Valle del Buttero
For a stress-free holiday in Capalbio, the best idea is to book an accommodation that is at the same time convenient for travel, but also immersed in the silence of the nature. Among the best accommodations that can be found in this area, there is the Hotel Residence Valle del Buttero that offers many accommodations far away from the traffic, but not from the historic center. The hotel has two-room apartments, suites and rooms with many services, such as air conditioning, television and Wi-Fi, as well as a green garden with swimming pool and fitness area. Even good food naturally wants its space: here you can taste some of the best dishes of traditional Tuscan cuisine, such as meats, local cheeses and homemade cakes. To conclude, the Hotel Residence Valle del Buttero is an excellent place to stay in order to participate at the many culinary events that take place in Capalbio (such as the fish festival in La Torba or the historical wild boar festival in September) and easily reach the various attractions that this charming village offers.