Fontebranda, the area in the heart of the Contrada dell'Oca, owes its name to the most famous fountain in Siena, but is better known as the place of birth of Saint Catherine, the famous Sienese mystic who died in 1380, was canonised in 1461, and named doctor of the church in 1970.
Labelled 'the mystic of politics', Saint Catherine fought corruption in the church, and managed to convince the pope, who was seated in Avignon, to restore the papal seat to Rome. Her letters or 'epistolorio' are famous for being charged with passion and religious fervour, in which she addresses the pope and the rulers of half of Europe.
Her house of birth, bought by the Council of Siena in 1466, was transformed into a real sanctuary, where precious works are kept, as well as records of the saint.
The portico through which one enters the house today, was built in 1941, while the well in the travertine is original (end of the 1400s, beginning of the 1500s). The Church of the Crucifix, houses the Crucifix of the XII century, from which, according to tradition, Saint Catherine received her brands.
The head of the Saint, moreover, is kept on the altar in the Chapel of Saint Catherine, inside the Basilica of San Domenico.