War unlocking Basilica secrets - Focillon War unlocking Basilica secrets | Focillon Humane ClubMade with Humane Club

War unlocking Basilica secrets

Published Jan 03, 2023
Updated Jan 03, 2023

📍 🇮🇹 War unlocking Basilica secrets

The Basilica of San Bernardino all’Osservanza in Siena (Italy), preserves parts of a Crucifix by Lando di Pietro (1338), the only wooden sculpture left by this artist. 

In 1944, towards the end of World War II, as Allied forces were progressing towards the north of Italy, a bomb destroyed the basilica, including the Crucifix which was originally placed on the high altar. Of the sculpture, only the head, fragments of the knee, and the left arm survived. 

While being a terrible loss, the destruction of the Basilica, brought to light two hidden messages from the fourteenth century. 

In the fragments of one of the knees of the Crucifix, a scroll indicating the date 1337 together with a prayer was found. 

A larger scroll was also found inside the head, and contained a prayer by the artist who claimed to put himself in God’s hands while asking mercy for him and his family. 

Hence, the Crucifix worked for many centuries as a treasure chest to preserve Lando di Pietro’s message. 


Angelini Alessandro, ed. Scultura dipinta. Maestri di legname e pittori a Siena 1250-1450. Firenze, Centro Di, 1987.

Read more on our socials:
Not applicable
14th century