Oratorio della Provvidenza

Just outside Capalbio‘s city walls, this humble 16th century church has become a sort of cult figure thanks a local legend.

In it, poor and downtrodden pilgrims gather to pray in front a painting of the Madonna. Inspired, Capalbio’s locals decide to move the painting to a more honoured place inside their church, but every time they do, the painting reappears minutes later in its old location outside of the wall. Completely unsure what to do, the locals decide to build a church around the painting – that church was the Oratorio della Provvidenza. 

The painting from the legend has since been lost, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of tourists flocking. However, the church is only open to tourists on Saturdays between 5pm and 7pm in summer and 4pm and 6pm in winter.

Now, it’s important to note that the oratory is not a one trick pony. In the 17th century, the oratory was rebuilt, leaving only the original cappella and lower level unchanged.

A number of beautiful frescoes from that century were added to brighten up the bare space. They’re by unknown Perugian artists who are thought to have been followers of the master Pinturicchio.

The Madonna con il Bambino, San Girolamo and San Sigismondo on the back wall is the most beautiful.