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Abbazia di San Galgano

Abbazia di San Galgano Review

Time has had its way with this Gothic cathedral without a rooftop, a hauntingly beautiful sight well worth a detour. The church was built in the 13th century by Cistercian monks, who designed it after churches built by their order in France. But starting in the 15th century it fell into ruin, declining gradually over centuries. Grass has grown through the floor, and the roof and windows are gone. What's left of its facade and walls makes a grandiose and desolate picture. In July and August the scene is enlivened by evening concerts arranged by the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. Contact the tourist information office at the abbey for details.

Eremo di Montesiepi. Behind the church of San Galgano, a short climb brings you to this charming little chapel with frescoes by painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti (documented 1319–48), and a sword in a stone. Legend has it that Galgano, a medieval warrior and bon vivant, was struck by a revelation on this spot in which an angel told him to give up his fighting and frivolous ways forever. As a token of his conversion, he plunged his sword into the rock, where it still remains today. Above Abbazia di San Galgano. 0577 756700. Free. Daily 9–sunset.

Updated: 12-05-2013

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