The building made up of the Hermitage (also called Montesiepi’s Round) and of the ruins of the big St. Galgano’s Cistercian Abbey, is one of the most enchanting views in Tuscany. Views as enchanting as this can be found near and far. In Montesiepi’s Round you can find St. Galgano’s Sword in the stone. The Sword in the Rock Montesiepi’s Round was built between 1182 and 1185, over the hut on the hill where St. Galgano lived during his last year and right there where he had placed his Sword in the stone.
At the beginning it was the tomb of the Saint, who had been buried north of the Sword, so that he could “see” Chiusdino through the entrance door.
Only in 1218/1220 began the construction of the big Abbey downhill. The building went on until 1268, when the Abbey was officially consecrated by Volterra’s Bishop Alberto Solari. The Abbey knew 100 years of great prosperity until 1364, then followed a slow decline due to the unfortunate Commenda’s practice. We’ll just cite one misdeed as an example: in 1550 the commendatory Girolamo Vitelli even sold the lead roof, after the jewels and a lot of other things. Despite some attempts to bring back the monastery into use at the end of 1789, after that Montesiepi’s Round had been put up in Pieve, the big abbey was deconsecrated and left for good to lie in ruin.
While Montesiepi’s Round, thanks to his Sword in the stone, bring us back to the Arthurian Saga, the big Abbey offers us others “musical” and “Egyptian” surprises, through his Sacred Geometry.
Maybe the good Cistercian monks of Saint Roberto in Molesme and Saint Bernardo in Chiaravalle knew more than what they left us in their written documents.