There are no obstacles to the sun, wind or rain in the Monastery in San Bruzio, just outside Magliano, in Tuscany. The elements are free to burst into the manmade building since time has attacked it ferociously and caused mortal wounds, leaving ruins that whisper their story with only a few crumbled words.
The ancient church was a very important religious site, around which the monastery was founded and prospered. We have records of the structure’s existence dating back to the 13th century, when pope Honorius III gave it to the powerful Abbey of Sant’Antimo, in the province of Siena.
What remains of the Romanesque building? A part of the presbytery, the apse, the two wings of the transept, and the octagonal tiburio, from which the dome has disappeared without a trace, just like the single nave – the vertical segment of what was a Latin cross plant.
A few decorations have also survived, with some of the column capitals, and a small number of bas-reliefs and sculptures, which hint at an incipient Gothic style.
The ruins make the precariousness of man’s work tangible. As the word “precariousness” comes from the Latin ‘prex’, meaning “prayer”, this is a perfectly fitting term for a church, even when all that is left are its ruins.