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The Madonna della Sanità

An Old Hermitage near Città della Pieve

[image ALT: A 2‑story church. It is a three-quarters view of the church of the Madonna della Maestà near Città della Pieve, Umbria (central Italy).]

The church as I first came upon it, unprepared; see my brief diary account.

About 2 km SE of Città della Pieve along the SS 71, a highway that will take you to Monte­leone d'Orvieto and Ficulle (in 4 and 20 km respectively) — and Orvieto and Viterbo if you stick with it long enough — you'll come across this little brick compound: from far away it doesn't look like much, not even like a church, since in the Italian countryside one sees many little clumps of housing like this with a belfry poking up from the roof, that are most often no longer churches at all.

In the better guidebooks though, the Madonna della Sanità — Our Lady of Good Health — is summarily noted as an old hermitage; the impression I got from her current custodian is that there was a hermit here within living memory.

[image ALT: missingALT. It is a detail of the façade of the Madonna della Sanità in Città della Pieve, Umbria (central Italy).]

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As usual, mind you, I hadn't read those guidebooks, so it's a good thing I kept my eyes open and looked closer at the exterior: one of the advantages of seeing a country on foot is that you inevitably pay a bit more attention to what you see; in a car whizzing by at 50 miles an hour I wouldn't have seen a thing.

[image ALT: missingALT in the Madonna della Sanità in Città della Pieve, Umbria (central Italy).]

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I was lucky with the interior as well: most rural churches are quite closed, even when there is a house attached, as here. The chapel holds maybe twenty worshippers, but is worth seeing; and thanks to the kindness of the people who live here, we all get a peek.

Having seen this little chapel, I continued my walk to Monte­gabbione, not without a final look behind me:

[image ALT: A rectangular building, about the size of a large house, by the side of a 2‑lane road; it has a small belfry of the type known as a 'campanile a vela'. It is a view, from the back, of the church of the Madonna della Sanità near Città della Pieve, Umbria (central Italy).]

Looking NW: from the little hill you will get a view of Città della Pieve, about 1½ km away to the north.

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Page updated: 12 Jul 23