Abbey of San Galgano in Chiusdino: hours and curiosities
The historic Abbey of San Galgano in Chiusdino is objectively one of the most fascinating and mysterious places in Tuscany. Located about thirty kilometers from Siena, this evocative tourist site attracts thousands of visitors every year and consists of a monumental complex formed by the hermitage of Monte Siepi and by an imposing Cistercian abbey, now completely in ruins. The architecture is dedicated to the figure of San Galgano, a local young man who dedicated himself to a mystical life after a youth spent in vice and debauchery.
Abbey of San Galgano: history, splendor and decline
The construction of the Abbey of San Galgano began between the years 1218 and 1220 and after the complete construction of the Monte Siepi hermitage, which took place between 1182 and 1185.
The works lasted more than fifty years and in 1288 the religious building was consecrated by the Bishop of Volterra Alberto Solari.
The period of maximum splendor of this abbey near Siena lasted for about a century, but then the building inevitably started to sadly decline. The building has no roof because in the middle of 1500 the Commendatore Girolamo Vitelli sold the lead roof.
Despite some attempts at restoration, after the Rotonda di Montesiepi was elevated to the rank of Pieve, the abbey became definitively deconsecrated and left to the neglect of time.
The Rotonda of Montesiepi and the sword in the stone
The hermitage or Rotonda di Monte Siepi is the site where the famous sword in the stone of San Galgano is located.
On the day of Christmas of 1180 the weapon was stuck in the ground by the same Saint celebrated on December 3, as the final act of a profound conversion.
San Galgano, in fact, after having spent a dissolute and disordered youth, matured the idea of retiring to lead a life of hermit and penitence.
By virtue of its unique appearance, from the post-war period onwards, the Abbey of San Galgano was chosen as location for many movies.
Here, in chronological order, all the movies that were filmed at this suggestive site in the province of Siena:
- 1962. Roger Vadim’s Warrior’s Rest
- 1975. Paolo Barca, elementary teacher, practically nudist of Flavio Mogherini
- 1983. Nostalghia by Andrej Tarkovskij
- 1986. The girl of lilacs by Flavio Mogherini
- 1996. Anthony Minghella’s English patient
- 2013. Gennaro Nunziante’s Sole a catinelle
In addition to the feature films listed above, the abbatial structure has also served as a location for some music videos.
Here’s more movies filmed in and around Siena.
Opening times and ticket prices
The Abbey of San Galgano in Chiusdino is open every day at the following times:
- November to March: 09:00 to 17:30
- April, May and October: 09:00 to 18:00
- June and September: 09:00 to 19:00
- July and August: 09:00 to 20:00
During special events, weddings, anniversaries, photo shoots or other events, opening hours may change (for info call 0577/756738).
Full: 4.00 Euro
Reduced: 3.00 Euro (up to 18 and over 65, groups with more than 20 people, students with university cards, families with and over 4 members)
Free: inhabitants in the Municipality of Chiusdino, children up to 6 years, disabled persons and tourist guides