What little I know about Saint Galgano...

This is the postcard we received when my father-in-law visited 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.

Abazia di S Galgano.jpg (45958 bytes)

Between Siena and Massa Marittima lies the spectacular remains of the Abbazia di San Galgano, which was once one of the most important monasteries in Tuscany.

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 community.

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 and breakfast
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
from Frienze.Net

Still another good write up and history in a dining guide on MINING CO

Images of San Galgano

UPDATE, January, 2001--NEW Images

Here's a page of images 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 translations?

(in Italian) 
(in English):

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.

Lorenzo 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 WalkAboutItaly

Some Maps of the Region

The Sword of Saint Galgano

What is the Cistercian Order (the order that built the Abbey)?

What little I know about
Bishop Galgano dei Pannocchieschi

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 dei Pannocchieschi

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 Florence.

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.