High above the town, this somber 19th-century church with a red-and-white striped interior would be quite forgettable if it were not for the presence of Margaret of Cortona (1247–97), a humble follower of St. Francis. Margaret had a bit of a past by the time she sought refuge with the Franciscan friars of Cortona in her late twenties—she had been a promiscuous teenager, then the mistress of the lord of a castle near Montepulciano, with whom she lived and bore a son. When she found her lover murdered in the forest, she saw the light and devoted her life to fasting and caring for the sick and poor, establishing a hospital and order of nursing sisters. Her life of prayer involved direct conversation with God, who once famously asked her, "What is your wish, poverella ("little poor one?"), to which she replied, "I neither seek nor wish for anything but You, my Lord Jesus." The 13th-century crucifix through which Margaret carried on this dialogue with God hangs in the church. Margaret died in 1297 and her embalmed body, to which the intervening centuries have not been terribly kind, lies in full view in a lavish 14th-century Gothic tomb above the main altar.
Basilica di Santa Margherita
Piazza Santa Margherita
Our Rating Hours Apr–Oct daily 8–noon and 3–7pm; Nov–Mar 9am–noon and 3–6pm Phone 0575/605064 Other Free admission
MapPiazza Santa Margherita Cortona
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