Sanctuary of Pietrina
If from Iano you follow the road leading to Palagio and then turn left on the steep uphill road, you arrive at the Sanctuary of Pietrina.
Once you get there, you can see all that remains of the ancient Castle of Pietrina. Once the place where there is the Sanctuary was called “Pietra”, while today this name indicates the opposite hill where the foundations of an ancient watchtower remain; in the middle of the valley there are the two lakes of the municipality of Montaione.
The name is first mentioned in a document of 1118 following a donation of two “della Pietra” houses to the parish church of San Gimignano.
More reliable news dates back to the 14th century when the Castle of Pietra was conquered by San Gimignano and later submitted to Florence. In 1835 it became part of the municipality of Montaione.
The Sanctuary, dedicated to the Saints Andrew and Agata, was expanded in 1890, restored in 1927 and a few years ago. Today it is part of the diocese of Volterra.
Until recently, in the sanctuary there was a painting of “Madonna with Child”, a work by Sienese painter Bartolo di Fredi (1353 – 1410), a student of the master painter Simone Martini who worked in Volterra in those years.
Today, only the central table of the painting is left, representing the Madonna with the Child who is holding an apple in his hand.
The painting is preserved in the episcopal palace of Volterra and is brought back to Pietrina only for the feast that falls on the last Sunday of September during the procession made with the presence of the Bishop of Volterra.
The painting is so prayed by the people that in 1988 the Bishop of Volterra, Vasco Bertelli, consecrated the Church of Pietrina as a Sanctuary.
Today it is possible to visit the church, the ruined towers and a small permanent nativity scene while from a rocky cliff you can admire a charming and breathtaking landscape on the surrounding countryside.