The village of Sensano
Small and surrounded by cypress trees
In the agricultural village of Sensano there is an old parish church from the 12th century, in Romanesque style dedicated to Saints Ippolito and Cassiano. From here you have a beautiful perspective of the surrounding area and it is easy to understand how the cypresses, so widespread in the countryside, have not only an ornamental reason but have a useful function to stabilize the soil. The roots of these trees descend vertically in depth, similar to cement pilings, thus containing even the most disconnected terrains or even, more commonly, road embankments.
At the end of the sixteenth century the village was under the patronage of Belisario Vinta, an influential secretary of the Grand Duke, and this explains the coat of arms above the entrance to the church.
The name of Belisario Vinta is linked to a rather particular story that in the 1960s inspired Pasquale Festa Campanile’s film “A Virgin for the Prince” starring Vittorio Gassman. In 1583 the Duke of Mantua, wishing to marry Eleonora, daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, had to prove his virility because the relatives of the previous wife had spread the news that he was powerless. The Grand Duke, before granting him his daughter in marriage, ordered him to show his masculinity with a virgin girl before witnesses. The task of attending was the trustworthy Belisario Vinta, who had already dealt with the mediation of the negotiations. The marriage was then successful.