Rotonda of San Galgano

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San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey - Exterior
San Galgano Abbey - Side ViewSan Galgano Abbey - ViewSan Galgano Abbey - Interior

The Abbey of San Galgano is a Gothic monastery dedicated to San Galgano, located in the province of Siena.

The first monastery was built at the end of the 12th century as a mausoleum for Saint Galgano. The most important building was the Rotonda of Saint Galgano erected to protect the tomb and the legendary Rock with the Sword. The legend says that when the young Galgano decided to abandon his dissolute life he planted his sword in a rock as a cross. The Rotonda was heavily remodeled several times and only a restoration in 1924 brought it back to its original look.

The cult of Saint Galgano grew in popularity quickly so it was decided to build a new Abbey. Its construction started at the beginning of the 13th century, it took almost sixty years to be completed. Immediately the Abbey became very wealthy and formed an alliance with the close Republic of Siena.

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The monks thought that the city would have protected them from armies and invaders. However Siena wasn’t able to defend the Abbey and in less than a century the monastery was sacked and left in ruin. At the end of the 18th century the campanile and the roof of the church felt down. The inhabitants of the surrounding cities started to sack what was left for building material.

Finally during the 19th century the monastery was partly restored; however only the Abbey’s walls still stand.