The marvelous Abbey of San Galgano
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The ruins of the Abbey of San Galgano, one of the most charming places of Tuscany countryside

The Abbey of San Galgano, started around the 1224, built during the 13th century and now reduced to ruins, is one of the most significant Cistercian Gothic monuments built in Italy. The complex of San Galgano, now devoid of numerous architectural elements and its coverage, interpenetrates with nature creating a truly impressive atmosphere.

The Abbey of San Galgano
The Abbey of San Galgano

The history of the Abbey of San Galgano and the sword in the stone

In 1180 Galgano Guidotti, a knight born in Chiusdino, retired to a hermit’s life and erected a chapel on Montesiepi where he stuck his sword in the ground so that it becomes a cross. In the chapel of San Galgano in Montesiepi there is still an old sword stuck in a rock. The sword in the stone, clear reference to the myth of King Arthur, is one of the main reasons of interest to many visitors.

The Abbey of San Galgano sword in the stone
The sword in the stone

The complex was built during the XIII century by the Cistercians,. San Galgano, who died in 1181 and canonized in 1185, was very close to this monastic order.

The monastery grew rapidly but during the fourteenth century began its period of decadence, various events including famines, the plague of 1348 and lootings (two by Giovanni Acuto), led to the beginning of the decline. The conservation status of the Abbey get worse over the years until in the 18th century the coverage was now collapsed and the Bell Tower fell struck by lightning in 1786.

The church and the monastery

The Church has a latin cross plan. The space is divided into three aisles that lead to the transept where is placed the altar. In the Eastern aisle of both arms of the transept were built two chapels.

The facade was never completed. Among the elements that have survived, there are the three portals that gives access to the interior of the church. On the side walls there are some windows and a series of large ogival mullioned windows of which unfortunately were lost almost all the partition columns. The apse has six large mullioned windows arranged in two rows and, in the upper part, two round windows.

The Interior of San Galgano, devoid of the flooring and invaded from the lawn, It is the most fascinating part of the monument. You can not remain indifferent to the atmosphere from gothic novel evoked by these ruins!

On the right side of the church we find the monastery, of which remains only some quarters including the chapter house, the hall of the monks and a section of the cloister.

Useful informations


Località San Galgano, Chiusdino (Siena)
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