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San Galgano

The Abbey of San Galgano is a Cistercian abbey, which lies a few kilometres far from Siena, in the municipality of Chiusdino.

It was built around 1218 and it is a gothic-style building with a Latin cross plan with three naves, (71 meters long; 21 metres wide; with 16 columns).

It is truly impressive and strikes the eye of those who see it for the first time for several reasons: it is isolated in a remote location because it is in the centre of a large meadow, far from any town and it has no roof.

Its isolation and its admixture of valuable relics, green grass and blue sky create a truly special ambience, giving off a strange and powerfully sacred feeling.

The atmosphere is so evocative that box office closes at 23.00 to enable visitors to appreciate this unique church with a starry sky as a roof.

Throughout history, this abbey has not always been so appreciated. It was also used as a warehouse for building materials and its roof, being of lead, was used to make ammunition.

But the magic of this place doesn’t finish here. On a hill a few hundred yards from the Abbey of San Galgano there is the Chapel of Montesiepi.

This small church was built around 1180 and has a circular shape. At the centre of the chapel emerges from the floor the “Sword in the Stone”: a medieval sword stuck in a boulder of rock.

Some experts have found points of contact between the story of San Galgano and that of King Arthur.

Its air of sacredness, magic and mystery is created by this whole story and it is like a scent that permeates the environment in which this majestic building is inserted.

I really believe it’s worth a visit!

Photos from the albums of: lo.tangelini, wyzik, fiammifero and emMO.

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