Sancta Maria de Pilli: history


The church of Santa Maria de Castroveteri stands at 473 meters above sea level on an ancient site, along the Via Cassia Vetus or Clodia, which was already inhabited during the Etruscan and Roman ages.
In his manuscripts, archaeologist Gian Francesco Gamurrini from Arezzo reports that in 1803 or 1805 a circular stone with an inscription (Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum), now gone missing, was found in the church “in castro Pigli”.
Between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the area of the castrum et curtis de Pinli was sought after by the most influent representatives of the civil and ecclesiastical powers.
In the 11th century, the whole area between Piglie and Puliciano was the property of the Marchesi del Monte di S. Maria.
Probably built in the High Middle Ages as a castle church, which was recorded in Pilli prior to 1079, S. Maria in Catroveteri has been documented, although indirectly, since 1182. That was the year when Ronaldino di Mambilia dei Longobardi di Dorna donated properties located in Pilli to the Canonica di San Donato di Arezzo.

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Santa Maria’s church maintained a primary role even after 1269, when the new castle was built a little further downhill by the Burali family, owners of the church’s patronage.
Instead, S. Maria de Pilli’s church, subordinate to Quarto’s parish church, was explicitly mentioned in the Rationes Decimarum at the beginning of the 14th century.

In 1583, the church was joined to S. Andrea’s, which is also mentioned in documents dating as far back as the 14th century and stands a few meters further downhill. S. Maria de Pilli therefore became an oratory. During the same year, the Visitatore Apostolico (Apostolic visitor) ordered that “certain paintings” present in the church be destroyed. The stone on the façade, bearing the date 1676, probably refers to a restoration of the building.
Inside the church, some documents testify the presence of an icon of the Virgin since the 16th century. This icon, which was said to be miraculous and was therefore devotedly worshipped, portrays the Madonna Assunta in Cielo (the Assumption).

In 1583, the Apostolic visitor reported that on the first Sunday of every month, the population of Pigli and of the surrounding villages walked there in procession.
The church underwent further renovation between the 17th and the 18th centuries and it is now back to its original splendor thanks to a careful restoration.