he Church, founded in 1230 was once named S. Maria del Ponte novo (St. Mary’s by the New Bridge) and was a votive oratory. It used to be situated at the foot of the bridge that connected via St. Antonio to via S. Maria. It was given the name it still bears today in 1333, when a thorn from Christ’s Crown of Thorns was donated to the oratory.
Throughout the 1300s the Church underwent many changes in its architecture and decoration. It is widely held that the director of works was Lupo di Francesco, an artist who had studied and worked in Giovanni Pisano’s workshop. He took the decorative motifs of pediments and pinnacles from the cathedral fronts at Siena and Orvieto and mixed them with designs typical of funeral monuments.