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SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA - FOLLOWING HER FOOTSTEPS THROUGH SIENA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS

Siena definitely has a strong bond with mysticism, as it is the home of important figures of Catholic religion like Saint Catherine and Saint Bernardino.

The name of our own hotel situated right outside the gates leading to Rome, recalls this unique woman. The mysticism that inspires Saint Catherine is one of the reasons why people come to visit Siena and see with their own eyes the places that hosted this saint through a long period of her life.

Bagno Vignoni and the Orcia Valley, a difficult period

Panorama over the Valdorcia siena tuscany

Since she was a child Saint Catherine of Siena clearly felt the faith in Christ weighting on her.
When she was only 6 years old she had her first mystic vision of Christ seated in glory with the Apostles Peter, Paul and John.
Soon after, she vowed to devote her whole life to God, her parents tried to dissuade her, first suggesting her to marry the widower of one of her sisters, and then by taking her away from Siena to Bagno Vignoni, in the Orcia Valley. This incredibly beautiful area, declared UNESCO world heritage in ***, brought her no relief.

Her parents strongly wanted to make her change her mind, but, not only Catherine refused to turn back, but also she fell seriously ill. She entirely restored only when her mother had her admitted to a local association of Dominican tertiaries (called the “Mantellate”).

A life dedicated to the others

She kept on living with her family giving away as often as possible, the goods they owned while taking anything for herself.
When she was only 16 years old she started a massive fasting, a practice she will be carrying out for her whole life, and that, maybe, would be one of the causes of her premature death. Her frugality and abnegation showed up in any aspect of her life, even while she was sleeping, as she chose to use a pillow made of stone, that is still visible in the house-sanctuary situated in the centre of Siena.

The Santa Maria della Scala, the dome and the legend

Her commitment in helping the infirm is renown and for the time she spent in Siena she dedicated herself to the cure of the ill people volunteering as a nurse in the biggest Medieval hospital of that time, now a museum: Santa Maria della Scala of Siena.

Fontebranda and San Domenico church, the life of a saint as a Siena citizen

Another name for Catherine, known at least in Siena, is “La Santa di Fontebranda” (literally “the Saint of Fontebranda”).

Fontebranda is spring located below the church of San Domenico, not too far from the house of Saint Catherine, where she used to go and get some water.
Sometimes we tend to forget that even though great preacher dedicate their whole life to God and things concerning events mostly situated beyond human life, they’re human beings too.
This pet name, at least, proves a part of Saint Catherine’s “normal” life: a woman simply walking through her city and taking water from a spring.

If you’re interested in a tour of the city or want to visit the area surrounding Siena, you can book a tour at the hotel reception or have a look at the tours available now.

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