Abbadia San Salvatore, the hamlet, the abbey and the mine
Abbadia San Salvatore is located on the west side (the Siena’s one) of the Mount Amiata. The name of this village come from the importante Benedictine abbey founded, according to tradition, in 743 by the Longobardic king Rachis. As you can imagine, the history of the hamlet is strictly connected with the abbey’s one.
Since the 8th century, the abbey of San Salvatore was one of the main powers in the area between Tuscany and Lazio as to rival the main feudal lords of the area as the Aldobrandeschi from Santa Fiora. During the 13th century the village acquired a certain autonomy and in 1347 it became part of the Repubblica di Siena until when, in 1555, passed to the Medici family of Florence.
In the period between the end of the 19th century and the ’70s, Abbadia san Salvatore has known an economic growth by exploiting its deposits of mercury of wich was one of the leading manufacturers worldwide. Today we can relive this time thanks to an interesting museum…
Abbadia San Salvatore what to see
Abbey of San Salvatore
Any visit to Abbadia San Salvatore should start from the abbey. The Abbey Church, rebuilt in Romanesque style in 1039, has a tall and narrow façade placed between two bell towers (the right one is unfinished). The interior, on one nave, preserves a wooden crucifix from the 12th century and some Francesco Nasini‘s frescoes as the “Legend of Rachis“. At a lower level compared to the Church is the crypt. It is more ancient than the Church (maybe 8th century) and full of charm. Inside there are 32 columns with capitals decorated in various ways.
Museo dell’Abbazia di San Salvatore
In the rooms of the monastery, there is a small museum which exposes some important artifacts coming from the monastery and other churches in the area.
Opening hours: 15 July- 31 Augusy tuesday-sunday 10.00-12.30 and 16.00-19.30; during the rest of the year visits by appointment only
Tickets: free offer
The historic hamlet
After visiting the abbey, we recommend a walk in the village where, among narrow alleys and stone houses, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Val d’Orcia. Abbadia San Salvatore has preserved the typical flavor of historic villages; here in fact buildings of medieval and Renaissance origins alternate, such as the former church of Santa Maria and the old town hall (Palazzo Comunale).
Parco museo minerario di Abbadia San Salvatore
As we said at the beginning, during the 20th century Abbadia San Salvatore was an important mining center. Today this world is reconstructed through the Parco museo minerario di Abbadia San Salvatore. The Museum includes some rooms that bring us into the world of mining and also a gallery, practicable with the miners’ wagon, along which were reconstructed typical work environments of the mine.
Address: via suor Gemma 5
15 June – 2 November and during holidays: 9.30-12.30 and 15.30-18.30
The visit must be booked.
Abbadia San Salvatore, Città delle Fiaccole
Abbadia San Salvatore is also called “Città delle Fiaccole“. This appellation is due to the ancient tradition of the Fiaccole (Torches) which is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve; it seems that this tradition dates back to a period even before the foundation of the abbey that brings with it various aspects of pagan origin. Every year, the inhabitants of Abbadia San Salvatore gather to celebrate this ancient ritual by setting fire to large piles of wood that burn throughout the night with traditional songs and festivities.
What to see around Abbadia San Salvatore
From Abbadia San Salvatore it is possible to reach the top of Mount Amiata by a nice hike along a route of about 13 kilometers. Along this beautiful walk in the nature, you can reach the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ermeta which inside holds a wooden crucifix, of uncertain date, which according to tradition would have been carved by a hermit. The summit of Monte Amiata is located at an altitude of 1738 meters above sea level and is well marked by a large monumental cross erected in 1910.
Hot to get to Abbadia San Salvatore
By bus: fromSiena line 54A by Siena mobilità (1 hour and 40′).
By car: from north (Florence 165Km) highway A1 till the exit Chiusi-Chianciano, then SP146, SP40 and SR2, turn on SP61 in direction to Abbadia San Salvatore.
Da sud (Roma 174Km) A1 fino all’uscita di Orvieto. Dopo SP99, SP107, SP50 e SR2 fino a destinazione.