St Galgano

Let me tell you a story from the Sienna region of Tuscany, or more particularly the area of Chuisdino, south west of Sienna.

In the village of Chuisdino lived a young nobleman called Galgano who had two visions.  In one he saw the Archangel Michael lead him away in knight’s armour.  In the other vision he met the twelve apostles at a round table.

With this in his head he left his distraught mother and spouse and went to live in the mountains of Monte Siepi. Here he embedded his own sword into a rock as a symbol of peace, gave up his arms and began a new life of faith as a hermit.

He died just a year after beginning his new life in 1181 at the age of 33, however the local people were proud of his endeavours and he was sainted.

In Cuisdino:

  • His local home has been converted to a chapel
  • His place of worship contains a replica of his sword and enclosed in a gilded dome, his skull.

In Monte Siepi:

  • A chapel was built in his honour, where his sword in the rock is now on view.
  • The Cistercian monks came to the area and built an Abbey in his honour between 1218 and 1288.

In the 15th century the monks moved to Sienna after their lands were devastated by mercenary bands and the Abbey was later deconsecrated.


San Galgano Abbey, Monte Siepi: