The ‘OG’ Sword in the Stone

February 21, 2017
The legendary abbey of Saint Galgano in Chiusdino Tuscany

Did you know that the legend of King Arthur and the sword in the stone originated in Tuscany? The real sword in the stone is located in Chiusdino, near Siena, in a chapel called Eremo or Rotonda di Montesiepi.

The sword in the stone in Tuscany, Chiusdino S.Galgano

Nestled in the rolling hills of Tuscany, you’ll find the roofless Abbey of Saint Galgano in ruins, which was a Cistercian Monastery built in the 13th century.

The Abbey of Saint Galgano

The altar in the abbey of S.Galgano

The entrance of the Abbey of Chiusdino Saint Galgano

Nearby, is the Eremo or Rotonda di Montesiepi chapel which houses the original sword in the stone – pierced by Saint Galgano himself. His tomb in also located in the chapel, which is a striking, Romanesque temple style chapel, that was later claimed by the Medici family.

The Eremo or Rotonda di Montesiepi chapel

This area is a great retreat, especially if you like quiet countryside, vineyards and cycling. When we were there is was a beautiful spring day and many bikers were zooming through the hillside.

The view from the church of Montesiepi with the sword in the stone

Sharing land with the Abbey and the Eremo or Rotonda di Montesiepi are many vineyards. Red wine from this area is great – it’s quite near to Monsanto – where one of our favourite Tuscan reds is from.


The Legend

Here’s a (really) quick synopsis of the legend:

It all starts with a boy named Galgano, who was a young, mischievous youth, who reeked havoc around the village.

One day, after having an epiphany, Galgano vowed that he would change his ways and dedicate himself to God and become a hermit. To solidify this decision, he slashed the symbol of a cross into a stone and then pierced the stone with his sword.

The sword stuck right through the center of the stone. From then on, Galgano lived a life of solidarity. The town’s people were so moved by Galgano’s change – they later built and dedicated a Romanesque temple style church to Galgano which was built around the stone with the sword stuck into it.

Galgano later received sainthood.

Later on, a Cistercian Monastery was built around the hermitage of Saint Galgano. The Abbey was named The Abbey of Saint Galgano and was constructed in the valley near his chapel.

Cistercian Monastery built around the hermitage of Saint Galgano

Unfortunately, when Europe was hit by the Black Plague in the 14th century. The population of Chiusdino either died or migrated elsewhere, leaving it a ghost town.

Now the ruins of the Abbey of San Galgano is a tourist destination and a popular wedding venue.

The Abbey of Saint Galgano


The Wines

Right next to the abbey there is a vineyard, that produces a wine called Montesiepi di S.Galgano. You can taste it while having a nice lunch at the hotel/restaurant nearby.

Wine Galgano di Montesiepi vineyard

However, if you feel like discovering more around, you will have so many options.

We decided to visit one of our favorite producers. Castello di Monsanto is about 45 minutes driving from S.Galgano, but it’s on the way to Florence if you’re going there.

The vineyards of monsanto chianti

Castello di Monsanto Riserva is one of the most special Chianti you can buy for less than 20 €. A bold, intense red complex and mystic flavors just like the abbey of S.Galgano.

Castello di monsanto wine producer

Stair in the garden castello di monsanto chianti

More photos from the Abbey of San Galgano, Chiusdino, Montesiepi.

A intact window in the 13th-century Abbey of San Galgano

Symbols in the Abbey of Saint Galgano

Birds fly over the mysterious Symbols in the Abbey of Saint Galgano

A cat is quietly guarding the entrance of the chapel or Eremo or Rotonda di Montesiepi from 1185

Playing around the Abbey of San Galgano

Modillons on the the chapel on the Eremo or Rotonda di Montesiepi (1185)

A tuscan Oaktree near the Eremo di Montesiepi

A 1000 years old window in San Galgano

Lost in the middle of the Tuscan countryside around Siena, on the way to San Galgano

View of the Abbey of San Galgano