A cistercian monastery found in the valley of the river Merce, the Abbey of San Galgano in the tuscanian province of Siena is a breathtaking, mystic place. The roofless walls of the Gothic style 13th-century Abbey church still stand tall above the visitor, and still remember the faith and industry of the local inhabitants which started building them around 1220 to remember the Catholic Saint Galgano Guidotti (San Galgano, in Italian), who lived as a hermit and died in the nearby town of Chiusdino.
Formerly a ruthless knight in its early life, Galgano – according to the myth – had a vision about Archangel Michael, the Apostles and the Creator himself. Reading this as a sign, Galgano decided to plant a cross, but having no chance to build a wood cross, planted its sword in the ground. The stone yielded like butter, then became rock again, and noone could ever remove the cross from that point. It is said that the episode inspired the very similar episode in the Arthurian mythology. Myth or not, you can still see the sword planted in the ground in the nearby Montesiepi Chapel.
Simply one of the most beautiful and renowned regions of Italy, Chianti Valley – Valle del Chianti, in Italian – attracts every year thousands of visitors from all around the world. The landscape is the one you can think – or dream – when you think about Tuscany, with its gentle hills kissed by the sun, wide fields of vineyards and olive groves, history-rich stone buildings and castle ruins. So beautiful you will think to live inside a postcard or a photography.
The Valley, and the region that takes the name from it, extends itself between two of the most typical and beautiful Tuscany’s locations: the cities of Siena and Florence. In between these two charming cities you can find plenty of small, rural villages built on the rocks or on the top of green hills surrounded by cypresses, and have the chance to taste some of the best examples of italian food – most typically t-bone steaks and selections of cheese – and some of the greatest products of the Italian wine industry.
When you think about Tuscany, it’s very probable that you imagine green and golden hills, covered by vineyards, and long, winding roads closed between two lines of tall and pointy cypresses. Maybe you don’t know, but if you have imagined the scene, you have just seen the Orcia Valley, Val d’Orcia in Italian.Continue reading →