What little I know about Saint Galgano...
This is the postcard we received when my father-in-law
Italy, that first made me aware Saint Galgano.
It's Abizia di San Galgano, in Comune di Chiusdino, near Sienna and Florence, in
the Tuscany region of Italy. The Abbey
was built in honor of Saint Galgano Guidotti, in the 12th Century. Saint Galgano
is associated with a legend of the Sword and the Stone.
ABBAZIA DI SAN GALGANO
Between Siena and Massa Marittima lies the
spectacular remains of the Abbazia
di San Galgano, which was once one of the most important monasteries
After becoming a Cistercian monk, the
former knight Galgano Guidotti had a chapel built on Monte Siepi in about
1180, and he later died there a hermit. The Cistercian monks later managed
to build an oratory and a building in honour of Galgano (who had in the
meantime been sanctified), thus giving birth to the Monastero di San
Galgano, a splendid building and one of the finest examples of Italian
Gothic-Cistercian architecture. The power of the monastery quickly grew,
and it soon absorbed the surrounding Benedictine abbeys.
The abbey was attacked and devastated in
the 14th century by troops under the command of Giovanni Acuto, and a
century later a period of decline began which culminated in the decision
to abolish the monastic orders.
In 1816 the monastery was used for the
construction of a farm.
Anyone visiting the ruins of the abbey
nowadays will be overwhelmed by the imposing walls of the now-roofless
building; built in brick and travertine, they have remained standing over
the centuries and are tangible evidence of the economic power of the
The light coming in through the gaps in the
walls, the clear view of the sky where once there was a roof, and the
floor which is nothing but grass give the place an incredible
atmosphere, especially at sunset.
The abbey is now a historical attraction, with some sort of hotel or bed
I'm not sure if it's still a church.
Here's the homepage:
Some San Galgano History
These are various histories, write-ups, photos and the like
I've found on the internet pertaining to Saint Galgano
and the Abbey of Saint Galgano. There are lot's of beautiful photos here,
and you can get more history. Worth looking at...
A write up of
Abbazia di San Galgano
and a little history of Saint Galgano:
Another good write up and
history of Saint Galgano with photos
Still another good
write up and history in a dining guide on MINING CO
Images of San Galgano
UPDATE, January, 2001--NEW
Here's a page of
the Abbey of San Galgano
New San Galgano Links
UPDATE, January, 2001--New San Galgano links, in
Italian and English. Can someone who speaks Italian help me with some
An interesting site, that 's mostly an enigma to me, as
most of the site is in Italian. I believe that this is the homepage of a
non-profit group interested in Medieval history, particularly pertaining
to the legend of San Galgano. Will anyone help me translate some of this?
The Castles of Tuscany has good information about San Galgano and the
Abbey in English and Italian.
Bonechi is an artist that has depicted the Sword and Stone legend in
his painting "San Galgano"
L’Abbazia di San Galgano e l’Eremo di Monte Siepi
This seems like a really good write up. Can anyone help me with the translation of this?
Older Links to San Galgano information
Some beautiful travel
photos of San Galgano by a Polish traveler.
A short write up of San
Galgano from Photo.net
A write-up from an
Some Maps of the Region
The Sword of Saint
What is the
Cistercian Order (the order that built the Abbey)?
What little I know about
There was also a Bishop Galgano
dei Pannocchieschi, in Volterra,
who was apparently a bad guy, who prompted a revolt of sorts in the 12th and
13th Century by the nobles and middle class for a free commune.
There's a beautiful site
for the Commune of Volterra, but it was VERY slow when I saw it:
This is a summary of the history pertaining to Bishop Galgano
The free Commune and the Bishop-Counts
After the last Hungarian invasion
and the feud between Berengario I and Alberto Marquis of Tuscany which almost
brought Volterra to ruin, the increase in population (after the year thousand)
encouraged the formation of the first medieval quarters of the city which were
mostly concentrated around the area of Castello: Borgo di Santa Maria ( today
Via Riccirelli), Borgo dell’abate (today Via Buonparenti and Via Sarti), one
perpendicular and the other parallel to the Castello walls.
The 12th century was marked by the
violent conflicts between the nobility and the bishop’s rule which was to
reach a climax in 1150 when Galgano dei Pannocchieschi became bishop.
The feudal lords and the middle classes
united against the bishops and the Palazzo dei Priori was begun in 12O8 and
completed in 1257 ,as a symbol of the free commune . The newly formed commune
purchased rights on the extraction of salt (the city’s main income),sulphur,
vetriol and alum in the areas of Larderello, Sasso and Libbiano but soon found
itself struggling for independence against the expansions of Pisa,Siena and
Many house towers including the Tower
of the Little Pig were erected as fortifications to defend the noble families
from their frequent and bitter fights for power. The Medieval defensive wall was
built to much expense to enclose a residential area inhabited by a few thousand
people and the cathedral façade was also embellished in1254.