The Chapel of San Galgano in Montesiepi: where a sword turned into a cross

The small church of Montesiepi, in the province of Siena, is where Saint Galgano, “a knight from Chiusdino, a town not far away, withdrew into hermitage around the second half of the 12th century. This is where he is said to have stuck a sword in a stone, to turn it into a cross and object of devotion.”

With these words, Siena-born art historian Cesare Brandi (1906-1988) began describing the beautiful Gothic chapel in his “Terre d’Italia”. The cylindrical building dates back to the early 14th century and is decorated with frescoes – albeit deteriorated – by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Brandi noted, “You can still see a sword in the small church’s flooring; obviously it is not Galgano Guidotti’s, but a later replacement. However, that rock – being neither flush with the floor nor centered in the chapel’s floor plan – has caused quite a few problems in dating the church, which is like a ‘martyrium’, so round and different from any other building around Siena, with its vault – almost like a ‘trullo’ – and travertine and brick bands” (C. Brandi, “Terre d’Italia, Bompiani, Milan 2006).

The view outside offers “wide green plains and hills, in a countryside almost exclusively made up of wheat and grass”, and seems to echo the solid message of peace of a sword forever in the stone.

Photos via: ©Chee-pow, ©Matteo Bimonte, ©Geerd-Olaf Freyer, ©federico

Cappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a MontesiepiCappella di San Galgano a Montesiepi

The Chapel of San Galgano in Montesiepi: where a sword turned into a cross

Loc. Montesiepi, Chiusdino (Si)

WEEKLY POSTCARD

Most Read

The Great War Museum: history at high altitude

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloOn the top of the Marmolada, at 3,000 meters of altitude, you’ll find the Marmolada Great War...

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli: neo-gothic inspiration

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli is located in Sassari’s central Piazza d’Italia. It was built by will of Giuseppe Giordano Apostoli in 1877, in...

Move To The Top takes you to the roof of the Dolomites

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle Nebiolo On 4 July 2020, the cableway to Malga Ciapèla will re-open. Its short,...

Tenute La Montina, the realm of Franciacorta

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloTenute La Montina is located in Monticelli Brusati (BS), in the north-east of Franciacorta, next to an ample...