The Hermitage of Montesiepi and the Abbey of San Galgano are one of the most beautiful architectural complexes in all of Tuscany.
They are located in the province of Siena, in the valley of the river Merse. The nearest towns are Chiusdino and Monticiano.
The Abbey is a building structured as a Latin cross, consisting of 3 naves. It is 71 meters long and 21 meters wide. Its architecture is typical of the Cistercian buildings and also the place where it was built observes the rules of this religious order: it is isolated from the houses, built in the middle of a vast plain and close to rivers.
The building is now roofless and this creates a really impressive view in any season of the year: with green grass or snow.
In the hermitage of Montesiepi there is the sword of St. Galgano, stuck in the stone. This is the most fascinating part of the history of this architectural complex.
A legend so famous and so old in fame to obscure the importance of the beauty and the value of this monument in itself.
The chapel, where the Sword in the Stone is located, was built about 100 years before the abbey (around 1180 AD) and San Galgano died here, next to the sword he had driven into the rock and at first he was buried next to it.
The Hermitage of Montesiepi is strictly related to the legend of King Arthur and the Holy Grail.
Everyone knows the legend of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the Sword in the Stone.
This area offers a landscape still strongly medieval and there are a lot of legends still full of mystery.
According to the legend, Galgano was a carefree young dedicated to a life of luxury.
But the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him several times and after this appearances he changed his life to become a hermit and devoted himself to meditation.
For the divine will in an apparition of the Archangel Gabriel his sword was stuck in a rock and the trees were moved to form a dome over his head.
The sword stuck in the rock formed a cross with its hilt. At his death, Galgano was proclaimed a saint, and later the abbey was built to allow pilgrims to pay homage to the saint.
Photos by: Janex & Alba, ho visto nina volare, lo.tangelini and italiamedievale.