Established in 1454 AD as a part of the Convent of the Friars Minor, the small church was transferred in 1828 AD under control of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, also known as Oratorians or Retreatants, which gave the church its present name of “Retreat”. In 1912 AD the Convent became the seat of the boarding school of the Baptistine Sisters by means of Sister Crocifissa Militerni, whose remains were transferred in 1940 AD from the local cemetery to the church.

 Convitto delle Suore Battistine

Only the atrium and the   stone portal are still visible today. The latter is characterised by columns and capitals with floral motifs and an ogival arch.

 Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie o  Ritiro, portale

The interior consists of a single nave, a choir loft above the entrance and a presbytery covered by a cross vault, with the altar placed on its center.

 Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie, interno

On the altar, there is a marble altarpiece of great artistic value: sculpted in 1533 AD by Gian Battista Mazzolo from Tuscany, it is marked by candelabra with grotesque motifs and features a statue of the   Madonna and Child in its central compartment, set on a podium with a bas-relief representing the   Nativity. In the side compartments, there are the statues of   St. Francis   and   St. Anthony, while the central lunette shows the   Descent from the Cross, and the couple of the Annunciation on the sides.

Giovan Battista Mazzolo, pala marmorea