J ust half an hour’s drive from Massa Marittima, in the upper Merse Valley, on a vast plain surrounded by hills, is the sky-covered Abbey of San Galgano. A mystical place that, together with the nearby Hermitage of Montesiepi and the medieval village of Chiusdino, is an ideal destination for a spring excursion.

THE ABBEY OF SAN GALGANO

The Abbey of San Galgano is about 7 km from the medieval village of Chiusdino. Surrounded by fields and hills dotted with small villages; otherwise silence and nature. An avenue of cypresses leads to the Abbey of San Galgano. Colours, light reflections and at the end of the avenue the stone giant. Stone, worn columns, capitals and architectural perspectives. Pointed arches, large windows. Three naves of pure sensuality. You look down and find the gravel; you look up and see the sky blue where you would expect a roof. No stained glass windows, but images of nature, colors and branches penetrating the interior. Or views of the surrounding fields and hills that look like Flemish miniatures.

Paesaggio nei pressi dell’Abbazia di San Galgano

THE ORIGINS

Built from 1218, the Abbey of San Galgano was one of the most important Cistercian centers in the region. At the end of the 12th century, followers of Galgano Guidotti settled; he himself came from Chiusdino. He gave up his earthly fortune to devote himself entirely to the contemplative life. In 1781 the church was desecrated and the building used as a farm.

Esterno dell'Abbazia di San Galgano
Facciata Abbazia di San Galgano
Pianta San Galgano
Scorci all'interno dell'Abbazia di San Galgano

THE HERMITAGE OF MONTESIEPI AND THE SWORD IN THE ROCK

A small dirt road that starts from the Abbey of San Galgano leads to the Hermitage of Montesiepi, a circular building. In a panoramic position overlooking the valley, this place is the symbol of the conversion and the legend of San Galgano.

You can still admire the sword in the rock today; the legendary sword associated with the figure of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The sword is in the center of the Hermitage of Montesiepi, enclosed by the massive walls of the rotunda, protected by a vaulted roof. A simple stone altar with a single lancet window behind completes the bare furnishings. The figure of San Galgano and the events of his life are known to the inhabitants of the area thanks to the sword in the rock.

Spada nella roccia
Eremo di Montesiepi
All'interno del Borgo medievale di Chiusdino

THE MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF CHIUSDINO – JUST A FEW KILOMETRES FROM THE ABBEY

To understand the story of the hermit it is necessary to visit the village of Chiusdino. In this medieval hamlet of Longobard origin, San Galgano was born around the middle of the 12th century. The village center still preserves its medieval structure. Thanks to the small and narrow streets, the monumental entrances and churches, Chiusdino is one of the most fascinating places in the Merse Valley.

ADDRESS:
The Abbey of San Galgano: Strada Comunale di S. Galgano, 53012 Chiusdino (SI)

DIRECTIONS

OPENING HOURS :
Every day from 09.00 to 17.30

TICKET PRICE: 5 Euros

Il Borgo medievale di Chiusdino

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