Madonna Dei Fossi

Church & Sacred SiteSt Francis' Spot


  • Witness the stunning Sanctuary ruins from the 17th century
  • Discover the small chapel memorializing St. Francis’ miracle
  • Explore the lush, mountainous landscape of I Fossi
  • Learn about the ancient history of Poggio Castello
Località Castelnuovo, 78, 50068 Rufina FI, Italy


Discover the fascinating history and beauty of the Madonna dei Fossi area in Tuscany, a crucial stop on the Via di Francesco pilgrimage trail. Explore the 17th-century Sanctuary ruins and small chapel that celebrate the miracle of St. Francis, while also enjoying the lush, mountainous landscape of I Fossi. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with centuries of pilgrims who have been drawn to this sacred site.

Culture & History

In this location, known as Madonna dei Fossi, there is a small chapel that is dedicated to a miracle performed by St. Francis. According to ancient texts, St. Francis passed through this area on one of his documented journeys from La Verna to Florence, and he caused a source of sweet and crystalline water to flow at Mount Pomino. This miracle was associated with an image of the Virgin Mary called Maestà di Fanaglia or Fanagliano.

The news of this miracle spread quickly, and many people began to come and pray at this site. The Bishop of Fiesole later authorized the construction of a church at this location, which was completed in 1640 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the name of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The church was later expanded and converted into a parish in the 19th century, but it fell into disrepair after World War II due to depopulation of the surrounding area. Today, only the ruins of the sanctuary remain, and the chapel stands as a memorial to the miracle performed by St. Francis.

Furthermore, archaeological excavations in 1977 revealed remains of a small castrum, which existed between the 9th and 13th centuries, belonging to the powerful Guidi Counts. Poggio Castello, located north of the church, was once the site of their medieval castle. This strategically placed fortification monitored the vital road network connecting Val di Sieve, Mugello, and Casentino.

The ancient road, known as the “Mulattiera Casentinese,” was once used by the Etruscans and Romans, and later by pilgrims seeking rest and shelter at the Hospice of the Franciscan Friars. This road was crucial in connecting the settlements of Fiesole with those of Casentino.

How to Get There

To reach Madonna dei Fossi from the nearest town, start in the village of Pomino. Follow the marked Via di Francesco trail, which leads you through the beautiful Casentino region, immersed in lush vegetation and mountain landscapes. The trail will take you to the charming site of Madonna dei Fossi, situated at an altitude of approximately 900 meters, between Poggio del Castello and Poggio di Tirilli. The walk should be accessible for most hikers and pilgrims, allowing you to fully experience the serene beauty of the area.