The oratory of Santa Maria is located inside the historic centre of Lastra a Signa, but its original site was where the ancient city gate, Porta Fiorentina, stands today. It was built at the request of the locals in 1342, and the project entrusted to Nardo di Ghino de Seganti. The chapel was demolished during the construction of the defensive walls and rebuilt on its current site.
In 1585, Antonio di Jacopo Comparini founded the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia (Brotherhood of Mercy) and the oratory has been its seat ever since.
Significant works were carried out during the first decades of the 18th century, such as the construction of the altar on the right (1712), dedicated to the Madonna, patron of the Brotherhood, and the campanile (1724). In 1732, the altar consecrated to San Rocco was rebuilt. Leonardo Cappiardi supplied most of the funds for the new altar and was honoured with a painting depicting San Rocco in Glory, in a distinctly Rococo style.
In the 19th century the Brotherhood commissioned a painting of the patron saints Sebastian and Tobias and the frescoes of the dome, now barely visible.
The oratory today shows signs of the many changes resulting from the 20th -century restoration works.
To visit the oratory, contact the Misericordia of Lastra a Signa to make an appointment (tel. 055 8743248)