For a change from all the religious artwork you will have seen head for the Complesso Museale di Santa Maria della Scala
(Picture 1) (tel. 0577 22 48 11; Piazza del Duomo). At first a hospice for those making pilgrimages, then a hospital for centuries, it is a must-visit for its
secular frescoes by Domenico Bartolo painted in honour of the hospital
and patrons‘ good deeds.
There´s no need to enter the hospital itself: but the Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata
(Picture 2) should be the first thing you see in the complex. It underwent modifications in the 15th century.
Cappella del Manto
is beautifully frescoed. Among its highlights is
the Meeting of Saint Joaquin and Saint Anna
made in 1514.
Then follow the long hallway and on your left you will find the Sala
. This was built in the 14th century especially for the pilgrims and later on it was used as the main ward. Most frescoes in it
were di Bartolo’s work. Il Vecchietta made the first panel in which he
depicts orphans going to heaven. Hospitals in Tuscany used to protect
orphans in those times. Other panels depict wet nurses nursing
motherless babies and a doctor listening to his patient.
ground floor is the Fienile
which used to be the space where he
hospital stored food. The original panels of the Fonte Gaia and some
reproductions of it have been conserved here. On this level is also the Oratory
of Saint Catherine of the Night
The Museo Archeologico
the Complesso Museale di Santa Maria della Scala showcases marvellous collections, mostly local findings such as funerary urns made
of alabaster by the Etruscans
, gold Roman coins, Etruscan and other
cultures statues, household goods and bronze votive statuettes .
Tickets to Santa Maria della Scala include museum admission.