scansano-chiesa-di-san-giovanniVia Vittorio Emmanuele

Built in 1276, but radically renovated in the 18th century, this strangely brown and grey stone church looks more like a castle tower than a place of worship.

Luckily, the rather harsh styling does not extend to the artworks on display within, in fact, it's in complete contrast.

Keep an eye out for the 'Madonna con il Bambino' with its beautiful glazed terracotta scalloped frame (although it's actually a copy of the original 15th century work by Andrea della Robbia, which was stolen in 1971).

The exquisitely coloured 17th century work 'Madonna che porge il Bambino a Sant'Anna' and 'Madonna del Soccorso' by Stefano Volpi are also definitely worth a look.

Where sentiments are concerned, Scansano prefers the Santa Maria delle Grazie, outside the city walls. That is, after all, where the miraculous Madonna delle Botte painting was found, and remains Scansano's favourite religious building.

That said, the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista is still beautiful, inside at least. It has a certain grandeur about it, which stems from its position as a collegiate in the 17th century.

The church is noted perhaps best for its five altars, all of which are made from beautiful stucco and plaster and covered in elaborate twirls and lifelike angels.

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