Tourist Attraction in Siena: Santuario di Santa Caterina
The Sanctuary of Santa Caterina is located in Siena on the Sant'Antonio Coast. The sanctuary incorporates the ancient dwelling of Benincasa, the home of St. Catherine, and is divided into various porticoes, loggias, churches and oratories. The area of the Conca di Vallechiara, rich in water conveyed to Fontebranda, was inhabited by numerous woolen workers, who had their homes, laboratories and dykes there. Among them was also the father of the future holy Catherine, Jacopo Benincasa. The common Sienese bought the house of the saint (which belonged to the Wool Art) and other annexed buildings to build a sanctuary right after the canonization of Catherine in 1461. In 1464 the transformations began. The saint's house still faces the alleyway of the tugboat, and is recognizable for the Renaissance stone portal with the inscription "Sponsae Kristi Catherine Domus" and for the loggia above, with columns in terracotta. The complex is accessed by the neo-Renaissance portico of the Municipalities of Italy, wanted by the Archbishop of Siena Mario Toccabelli to celebrate the proclamation of St. Catherine to Patron of Italy by Pope Pius XII in 1939, a proclamation requested by the archbishop itself (the event is remembered by a license plate). The porch was started in 1941, when every town in Italy contributed to the cost of building it with a symbolic figure equivalent to the cost of a brick. From this curious fact comes the name of the porch. The works were immediately interrupted due to the war, and were completed only in 1947. The portico also contains the busts of the various popes that recognized the sacredness and importance of St. Catherine in the history of the church. These include Pius II, who proclaimed it holy in 1461, Pope Pius XII, proclaimed patron saint of Italy, Paul VI, nominated by the Doctor of the Church in 1970, and John Paul II, proclaimed patron of Europe in 1999 The portico also includes a Renaissance well, perhaps designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi in the first half of the sixteenth century. Then there are two other loggias, of which the first, the oldest, was erected in 1530-1550 by Giovan Battista Pelori, student of the most famous Baldassarre Peruzzi. The second loggia is modern and features a large stucco statue depicting St. Catherine and designed as a statue model on the fort. Accessible from the third porch, the Crucifix church was built between 1614 and 1623, on the grounds that traditionally housed the garden of the Benincasa family. The purpose of its construction was to host the miraculous "Crucifix" from which Caterina received the stigmata in 1375. The crucifix, of Pisan school and dating back to the second half of the 12th century, comes from the church of Santa Cristina in Pisa, theater of the event miraculous. Until 1623, the year of consecration of the church, the crucifix was in the oratory of the House and is now placed in the main altar within a golden frame and flanked by sixteenth-century doorsteps painted by Bartolomeo Neroni, with the figures of Santa Caterina and San Girolamo . The marble altar is instead of Florence Tommaso Redi and dates back to 1649. The church contains seventeenth-century canvases painted by various authors and depicting scenes from the life of St. Catherine. Among these are the Apotheosis of St. Catherine of Rutilio Manetti (altar on the left), St. Catherine and Gregory XI by Sebastiano Conca (right altar). The fresco is frescoed in 1701-1703 by Giuseppe Nicola Nasini with the Glorification of St. Catherine.