A cross in the sky and a Sword in the Stone…..The Abbey of Saint Galgano was a Cistercian Monastery built to honor 12th-century Tuscan nobleman Galgano Guidotti, who renounced his life of riches and retreated to this area to dedicate himself to a hermetic life of prayer. Legend holds that he smashed his sword against the rock as a symbol of breaking from old ways, but instead it plunged into the stone and held fast. Set in the Tuscan countryside this impressive ruin is worth a look and  it was wonderfully evocative to walk about the abbey imagining what it was like for the men of faith who built, worked and worshipped here over the years. We loved the quiet, green, and spiritual space, as well as the simple, sweet chapel, a short walk up the hill. The views were lovely across the countryside and the abandoned abbey a photographer’s dream—no coachloads of people here–there were probably 5 people total including us. I just love abbeys with their grand walls and gothic arched windows and this one was particularly magnificent as the roof is gone, leaving it open to the sky and the elements. And, if you stand in the center and look up to the sky where the roof once was, there is now a cross open to the heavens. I actually put my jacket on the ground to get the best shot I could with my wide angle lens. Slightly underwhelming though is the famous Sword in the Stone found in the nearby chapel. Real or not, it’s covered in cheap scratched plexiglass which somehow takes away from its mystique. When you’re through meandering, there is a nice cafe and wine bar just a short walk away and it was lovely to sit outside sipping on a glass of rose’ with the abbey and surrounding hills as the backdrop. It was a splendid way to spend our last day in Tuscany.

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