The shrine of San Nicola da Tolentino, the Augustinian friar who died in 1305, is one of the most important in Italy. The Cappellone chapel is of great artistic value, with its beautiful frescoes by the Giotto school and its cloister, both fourteenth century. The saint's remains are preserved in the crypt. The Museo del Santuario, which boasts several important collections and exhibition sections, is housed in rooms adjacent to the convent, home to an Augustinian community. The collection of paintings, sculptures, vestments and religious furnishings includes many works that reveal the history of the shrine. One outstanding painting is a large canvas depicting the Eternal Father Blessing, as well as a lunette with gold frame depicting a Pieta, both dated 1518-1523 and part of the sanctuary's large altarpiece. The 1300s wooden Nativity, formed by statues of the Mary, Jesus and St Joseph, is one of the oldest sculptures in the Marches and hence very valuable. There are many silver objects on display, including reliquaries, monstrances, candlesticks, chalices, censers, votive silver leaf, which are part of the sanctuary's assets. The pottery section was donated to the municipality of Tolentino in 1933 by Cardinal Giovanni Tacci and includes important artefacts from leading Italian potteries of various periods (including a shepherd-boy statuette by Giovanni della Robbia), and items from English, Japanese and Chinese potteries. There is also a quite unique collection of votive offerings - about 400 small paintings on wood, paper or canvas depicting the miracles and graces attributed to St Nicholas. They are testimonials of the devotion of the faithful from the fifteenth century to the nineteenth, and are remarkable illustrations of local customs and institutions in the various periods. The museum also includes a crèche scene that is in operation all year round, as well as an exhibition of contemporary Italian and international crèches, as well as a diorama of the life of St Nicholas.
Via Mariano Pallottini