An excursion to the mysticism of San Galgano
Warning: the original protagonist of this legend was not really King Arthur, but our local knight and hero Golgano Guidotti. He was not born in medieval England but in Tuscany. The theater of history is only 20 km from Sequerciani, nestled in an idyllic hilly landscape. Go there and check or yourself!
This is the story of the legend:
There once was a young man, Galgano, from a rich and noble family, born in 1148 in Chisudino Tuscany. His life was marked by disorder and lawlessness, the fighting of useless battles and many amorous adventures.
One day when he was out riding, his horse became frightened and threw the young man off: none other than the archangel Michael, the patron saint of Chisudino, had appeared right in from of him!
Under the saint’s protection, our reckless youth was led to a hill close to his birthplace. Here, he was asked to renounce a life spent far from the ways of God: “It is easier to stick a sword in a stone than to do what you ask of me” apparently were the words of Galgano. And venturing to prove his point, he swung his sword - and yet somehow the sword entered easily into the rock in front of him. Thus the miracle occurred, our hero took heart and Monte Siepi became his hermitage – where he lived in poverty together with wild animals until his death in 1181. Four years later he was proclaimed a saint.
Afterwards, the Bishop of Volterra gave Monte Siepi to Cistercian Monks, who built the church of Monte Siepi on the top of the hill, originally with red and white strips. It is also where Galgano’s sword can still be found stuck in a rock -- we highly suggest it as the destination for a short beautiful walk. The monks later built the Gothic Abbey of San Galgano at the foot of the hill.
One of the most evocative and refreshing places in all of Tuscany is here: the ruins of the San Galgano abbey, which has been reduced to only walls and lies in the quite countryside, surrounded by fields and cypresses. Its roof collapsed a long time ago – and standing in the middle of it with its open sky, you can not help but experience the magic of the place.
On the road back, a narrow lane leads up a hill towards Chiusdino, the birthplace of Galgano. The village has the characteristics of a film set, with its narrow, torturous alleys that wind picturesquely up through the different “levels” of the village. But the best part about wandering through this labyrinth is entering the church of of San Michele -- where, barely attracting any attention is preserved a most valuable relic: the skull of San Galgano!
After such a scare, you will be in need of some cheer, and, as it will likely be getting darker, something to eat as well. All that remains for you to do, is it too take the picturesque roads in the direction of Tatti, where -- after a visit through the village’s small medieval center – the “Barrino” restaurant welcomes you. Guests there can enjoy Tuscan delicacies and taste the natural wine of Sequerciani, while seated on the restaurant’s terrace with its amazing views of the hills and the sea beyond. What more could one ask for?