San Miniato | Cigoli and Sanctuary Madonna dei Bimbi

Cigoli is an ancient castle long disputed between Pisa and Florence, on a hill overlooking the Valdarno plain. In 1335, the Umiliati monks settled there and built a convent and church on the highest point of the hill. The religious building has survived to the present day following transformations and became a parish church when the baptismal font and the title of Pieve di San Giovanni Battista were transferred there. The three-nave interior preserves the sacred image of the Madonna Enthroned with Child, an early 14th-century polychrome wooden high-relief, and the monumental stone Gothic tabernacle on the left aisle, the work of the Florentine artist Neri Fioravanti (1381), which contains the sacred icon venerated for the miracle of 1451 that gave her the title of Mother of Children and increased her cult throughout Tuscany for having brought a child back to life. The miraculous event was recognised by the Holy See in 1791 with an official document, still preserved in the Sanctuary’s historical archive.

Every year, an artistic nativity scene is set up in the church that combines extreme research into detail with high technology, in a ‘Palestinian-type’ landscaping, so much so that it is defined as the largest technological nativity scene in Tuscany.

The painter, sculptor and architect Ludovico Ciardi, known as Il Cigoli, who also practised at the Medici court, was born here in 1559.

Cigoli is also a truffle zone. In March, it turns into a village of taste, where you can taste and buy, wine, oil, local products and the truffle marzuolo.

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