What strikes you most about the Convent of Zoccolante is the massive retaining wall that keeps the hillside from sliding away and with it the building. As you roll past on the train, there are only five or six seconds to catch a glimpse of the complex but it is the wall that immediately stands out.
So when I had the chance to get a little more up close and personal, I took it.
Out in the countryside
The convent stands at the base of the hill, about five minutes from the town centre of Citta di Castello on the road to Sasso. The buildings are a pale yellow with natural stone at the base, this is set off against the earthy colours of the wall and the green vegetation that cloak the hill’s slopes.
The church was built between 1473 and 1529, with the front arched porch dating back to the 1680s. It is possible to see a copy of Donatello’s statue of John the Baptist made for Siena’s Cathedral, while the Andrea della Robbia ceramics that were once housed here, are on display at the Pinacoteca Comunale, the museum in the town centre.
Get a better idea of the surrounding area on this Google maps link.