Our network: Guides | Hotels
Saturday 24 September 2022
Italiano English

Church of Santa Margherita

Email this page | Printable
The church of Santa Margherita, which occupies a magnificent position in the upper part of Cortona, is constructed over an oratorio built originally by order of this Franciscan penitent nun and dedicated to St Basil, St Aegidius and St Catherine of Alexandria. The oratorio built by order of St Margherita was in turn erected over the remains of a small church built in the 11th century by the Camaldolensian monks and dedicated only to St Basil.
After St Margherita’s death in 1297, the inhabitants of Cortona ordered a larger church in her honour to be built alongside the original church dedicated to St Basilio, behind which the saint had spent the last years of her life in isolation in a small room. This larger church was designed by Giovanni Pisano and decorated with frescoes of the Senese School. In 1330 the remains of the saint were moved here, from their original resting place in San Basilio.

The church we see today is the result of numerous alterations carried out through the centuries, the most recent of which took place between 1858 and 1897. Of the original architectural structure only the large rose window of the façade remains, along with the 17th century bell tower and the exterior walls of the choir. Two marble statues of the Madonna and the remains of some frescoes attributed to Lorenzetti are now in the Museo Diocesano. The body of St Margherita is visible under the high altar, within a solid silver urn designed by Pietro Berrettini in the 17th century. Above the altar on the right hangs the dramatic 13th century Crucifix that is said to have spoken to the saint. The marble sarcophagus placed against the left hand wall of the church is surmounted by a finely carved statue of the saint in a sleeping position, believed initially to have been by Giovanni Pisano but subsequently proven to have been completed in 1362 by Angiolo and Francesco di Pietro, two sculptors who were born in Cortona but who lived in Assisi.

The square in front of the church enjoys a spectacular view of the Val di Chiana, towards Monte Amiata, Cetona and Lake Trasimene.


  General information
The City of Cortona 
The Weather in Cortona 
Local Opening Times 
Useful and Emergency Numbers 
Pharmacies in Cortona 
Famous Lines About Cortona 
Post Office 
Teatro Signorelli  

  Transport in town
Road Map 
Traffic Restrictions 
Parking in Cortona 
Town Map 
Hotels Map in Cortona 
How to Reach Cortona 

  Transport out of town
Surrounding Towns and Villages 
Buses Outside Town 

  Where to Stay
Farmhouse Residences and Country Houses 

  Where to eat and drink

University of Georgia studies abroad at Cortona 
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa 
Sant'Agostino Conference Centre 

  Art and monuments
Association for the Recovery of the Heritage of Cortona 
The Palazzone 
Palazzo Casali 

  Art and religion
The "Celle" Hermitage 
Church of San Marco 
Church of San Cristoforo 
Church of San Benedetto  
Church of Sant'Antonio Abate 
Church of Santa Margherita 

  Museums and galleries
Archivio Storico 
Museo Diocesano del Capitolo 
MAEC - Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca 
Museo Archeologico e Paleontologico of Farneta 
Accademia Etrusca and Council Library 

  Tourist attractions
The Melone II° del Sodo 
Cortona Archaeological Park 


  Major historical figures
Silvio Passerini (1469-1529) 
St Margherita (1247-1297) 
Luca Signorelli (144?-1523) 
Pietro Berrettini (1596-1669) 
Gino Severini (1883-1966) 
Brother Elia 
Famous Cortonese 

  What to see & do
Lake Trasimeno 
Weddings in Tuscany 
Archaeological Itinerary 

  Lake Trasimene
Lake Trasimene 
Eating well by Lake Trasimene 
Where to stay by Lake Trasimene 
Bathing - Lake Trasimene 
The islands - boat tours 
Ristorante Da Massimo, lago Trasimeno - Magione 

  Specials - Out of town
Gift Ideas for traveling 
Wedding in Cortona 
Arezzo - where to sleep - Discover the city of Antiquarian and Gold 
Pierle and Its Castle 
Stay in Val di Chiana aretina 

Typical Tuscan products 

  Typical products
Signal a Craft