San Galgano Abbey
The Cistercian monks began the construction of the church in 1218 and finished it in 1288. At the same time the monks were also in charge of the construction of Siena’s famous cathedral, Il Duomo. San Galgano had quickly become one of the most famous monastery in Tuscany. The San Galgano abbey is one of the first buildings in Central Italy and it was built according to the tenets of the Gothic architecture arriving from France.
Sword in the Stone
Pieve di Montesiepi, one of Tuscany’s most beautiful small countryside churches (pieve = parish church). The Pieve is also known as Rotonda di Montesiepi , for its round shape, this place is also known to be a Eremo (hermitage) . The current building was probably built in the 14th century on top of a pre-existing one. It was here (on mount Siepi) that Galgano Guidotti ( who later became the saint, San Galgano) began his short life as an hermit in 1180 (he died one year later). The decision was induced by various dreams and visions that led him to stop his extravagant life. As a sign of his inner change, Galgano stuck his sword into a rock on the hill Montespiepi – because he turned from a knight to an hermit, and the sword from weapon beacame a cross.
Val di Merse has been important since the Middle Ages due to the abundance of rivers and mills; it is almost entirely a nature reserve, ideal for those who wish to spend a holiday in the peaceful, less populated, tuscan countryside. Known for the impressive Abbey of San Galgano this area includes the municipalities of Sovicille, Chiusdino, Monticiano and Murlo. There you can find and visit beautiful villages, ancient forts, natural hot springs and many other places full of charm, surrounded by a pure nature.
Petriolo natural hot spring
The Petriolo natural hot spring is a complex of natural thermal water that flows at 38 ° from the ground, creating beautiful pools of sulphureous water where to regenerate surrounded by nature. These Thermal springs were already known since Roman times, as to be mentioned in a Cicero’s oration and in an epigram of Martial. During the Renaissance, the spa gained considerable prestige, visited by a few people from the Medici and Gonzaga families, as well as Pope Pius II. In 1907 Petriolo was included in the publication of the Ministry of Interior on the official list of the mineral waters of Italy. The hot springs are accessible both for free, or throughout equipped facilities.