The Oratory of St. John the Baptist overlooking the main street of Cascina, belongs to the adjacent complex of the church of Santa Maria Assunta. The Oratory was built in the late 14th century by the Pisan nobleman Bartolo Palmieri da Cascina, of the Order of the Knights Jerusalemites, who also commissioned the impressive cycle of frescoes inside.
The simple quadrangular brick structure has an interior with a single nave, decorated with a surprising cycle of frescoes painted in 1398 by the painter Martino di Bartolomeo (author of frescoes in the Cathedral of Siena), depicting stories from the Old Testament, with images of Saints, Prophets, Evangelists, figures of the Zodiac. The figurative cycle had the function of a religious “book” for the poor and illiterate faithful, a sort of “Biblia pauperum.
The Oratory then passed to the Knights of Malta and finally under the Municipality of Cascina. In the Napoleonic era, following the suppression of the property of brotherhoods and religious orders, the building was used first as a warehouse (1785) of timber and sulfur, then as a stable and carpentry, until 1919 became the property of the Teresian Sisters of St. Martin who have left the building.