For six centuries, the Franciscans lived in this facility until 1860, when they abandoned it. Today the church is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and the premises of the old convent there is the Oratory.
In 1280, the Franciscan fathers acquired from the Benedictine monks an oratory dedicated to St. Bartholomew with a small house and a small plot of land on which they built this convent and a spacious church, of which we know nothing of the structure, which was destroyed in 1776 with the exception of facade, left in the original up to the rose window and in its total height. Inside, the church was completely renovated in the style of the time and made very bright. The bell tower was built (or perhaps rebuilt) in 1600 as readable by the date engraved on a brick. Of the original convent remains one wall in which you can still see very small windows in correspondence of the cells of the monks. In the fifteenth century, because of the growth of the Franciscan religious community, three sides were destroyed to allow increasing the breadth and length of the complex and to create inside the courtyard a new porch where the ancient oratory of San Bartolomeo was maintained. In 1426, San Bernardino da Siena had stayed in Castel della Pieve, and inside of this very oratory established the Brotherhood of Mercy that remained there until 1567. Subsequently, the Oratory became the refectory of the Franciscans.
Inside you will find “The Crucifixion of Jesus”, an important fresco popularly known in Italian as “Il pianto degli angeli”, (The Tears of the Angels), the only survivor of a painting cycle that almost certainly was in the same convent. Unfortunately the blue background above disappeared leaving visible the dark colour of the underlying preparation.
It is a painting by the Sienese Jacopo di Mino del Peillicciaio, from the second half of the fourteenth century. He was one of the more important popularizers of figurative techniques of the Sienese masters Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini.