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Tuscany’s Treasures – The Abbey of San Galgano: inspiring King Arthur’s mythology?

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.

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