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The Abbey of San Galgano and the (real) Sword in the Stone

The abbey of Saint Galgano rises approximately 30 km from Siena, between the towns of Monticiano and Chiusdino, in a wild and unspoilt landscape, the sweet and charming Tuscany countryside.The Abbey of Saint Galgano was built between 1218 and 1268: it has represented throughout the centuries an important stop and point of reference in this corner of Tuscany for travellers, pilgrims and people of every kind, which was densely populated, rich in churches, castles, villages, abbeys and monasteries.
The abbey was built in a wonderful gothic Italian style, with pointed arches and big decorated pilasters. It’s an excellent example of tuscanian gothic architecture, with the typical elements of Pisa’s and Siena’s architecture.

Nowadays the Abbey is deconsecrated, abandoned and partially ruined, but still full of charm: it has no more ceiling, but when you’re inside the church and look up, you can see the most beautiful ceiling in the world: the bright blue sky of Tuscany! As floor there’s green soft grass… seems that nature re-integrated the abbey with the landscape: in my own opinion this is a perfect example of how men and nature worked together to build a huge tribute to God… and they reached a perfect equilibrium.
Near the abbey there’s the Montesiepi Chapel, a small church where is the famous Sword in the Stone, not the King Arthur’s one (this is just a legend), but the only existing original sword in the stone, in the whole world.

The sword in the stone has been stuck by San Galgano into the rock emerging on the top of the hill in 1180, to symbolize his rejection of war, he plunged his sword into the rock, which miraculously "parted like butter", leaving only the hilt exposed to form the shape of the Cross: the Saint used to pray in front of this Cross.
To honour the Saint, around it has been built a small lovely round chapel, between 1182 and 1185.

The sword has been considered a fake for many years, but a metal dating research in 2001 made by the University of Siena has indicated that it really has medieval origins. The composition of the metal used for the blade doesn't show the use of modern techniques, and the style and shape is compatible with that ones of an original 12th century sword.

Very near the Abbey and the Montesiepi Chapel there’s a small bar-reastaurant where you can stop and taste a glass of local red wine with some sandwiches stuffed with the tasty salame, ham and others typical tuscanian foods.

2 commenti:

Kit said...

Hi, I've been reading your entries and getting excited, as I'm set to go to Florence this year. How does one get to San Galgano abbey from the city? Thanks.

Claudia - discover florence said...

hi Kit! enjoy your holiday in Tuscany! you find all the info about how to get to San Galgano here on the official website of the abbey. unfortunately you can't get there by train, the nearest station is Siena.

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