The New Sacristy

Returning to the entrance on the right-hand side of the nave, and entering the former chapel of St Francis, we come to the New Sacristy. Impressive in size, it gives a good idea of the monumental grandeur and beauty of the religious complex, unfortunately demolished about three quarters of its size during the Napoleonic era.

The brightly lit space was built around 1642 by the Mantuan nobleman Scipione Capilupi (as thanks for having escaped - he alone, his entire family - the plague that plundered Mantua in 1630), occupying part of the cloisters on the edge of the building. The wooden cupboards around the perimeter of the great hall certainly stand out, completed by an altarpiece whose altarpiece seems to be a copy from an original (already attributed to Titian) taken from the Capilupi family, who once owned it.

The canvas iconographically justifies the dedication of the space to the Trinity and St John the Baptist: it depicts the Baptism of Jesus, a Gospel episode in which the Baptist is present and during which the Holy Trinity is manifested. Among the paintings preserved here is a copy of Titian's Supper at Emmaus, possibly from the scarsella in the sacristy of the Jesuit church in Mantua. On the west wall is a huge lunette, a painting by Francesco Borgani, formerly in the convent refectory and, unfortunately, partly cut down in the 1960s.

It depicts The Apparition of Mary to Saint Anthony of Padua, to whom she entrusts the Child Jesus. All around is the only complete series of portraits of the Gonzaga Nevers and some ex-votos, a small part of the collection of hundreds of pieces preserved here. On the south wall there is also a bust of St Pius X, who before becoming Pope was Bishop of Mantua and who as both bishop and Pope showed particular solicitude for this shrine. His brother also lived in a palace in the village, which is still called 'Palazzo Sarto'.

For further information click here: Sanctuary bibliography and insights

Santuario delle Grazie
Pick a flower for the Blessed Virgin Mary of Grace