In the neighbourhood of the nunnery of Morrocco [1-2], crossed themselves in the past, the way of Guardingo di Passignano and the Strada Romana. This characteristic marks also the circumstances of the foundation of the sanctuary: the legend tells of a group of pilgrims on travel to Rome, who stopped to rest and placed on an oak the image of the Madonna with the Infant. When was time to go, they could not move the board and the Florentine Niccolò Sernigi saw it there still in 1459 . He was so impressed that decided to rise a church and a nunnery, which gave hospitality to a community of Carmelite monks in 1481. The family Sernigi’s emblem, with three flowers on a mountain is traceable in different points of the complex .
To decorate the three original altars of the church, the Sernigi called the Florentine painter Neri di Bicci, who realized a Trinity and Saints for the main altar , a Mourning on dead Christ and a Madonna of the Milk and Saints for the side ones [6, 7]. These boards have been moved in the Museum of Sacred Art of Tavarnelle for safety reasons, while the church suffered, during the 20th century, some robberies, amongst them the one of the miracle image of the Madonna with the Infant (now substituted by a copy) . The church is moreover decorated by late 15th century frescos, ascribed to Filippo d’Antonio Filippelli (1460-1506, a very active painter in Val di Pese and Val d’Elsa) and by two terracotta of Robbiano, while the main altar has been renovated in baroque age. Outside, a porch has been built with bows, and the walls have been decorated in many times from 15th to 17th century with now very ruined frescos: ascribed to the same Filippelli are a Trinity and a St. Dominic, while the most recent frescos, representing Histories of St. Elias, are works of a not yet identified painter . The cloister presents the lunettes of the decorated bows with Histories of St. Teresa d’Avila, realized in fresco by Antonio Nannoni in 1637 [10-11].
Since 1810, because of the Napoleonic suppressions of the religious Orders, the sanctuary did host no more monks; the situation changed in the 80’s with the arrival of a group of Carmelite Australian nuns.