San Galgano Abbey and the hermitage of Montesiepi
The original nucleus of the monastic complex Cistercian of Saint Galgano (Galgano Guidotti 1148-1181) is the hermitage of Montesiepi, built in Roman style as mausoleum of the Saint between the 1182 and the 1185. The hermitage began too small to contain the monks and the pilgrims, so in 1218 was decided to begin the construction of a new imposing Abbey in the plain below. The Abbey was built in the classic gothic forms of all the other Cistercian constructions, with plan at Latin cross with three aisles, rich of carved capitals and rose-windows, cloister, halls, bell tower. The abbey declined in the 16th century due to a long period of corruption that culiminated with an abbot selling the lead from the church roof, which soon collapsed. In the 1789 the great Abbey was definitively abandoned and become an enormous quarry of stones and columns for all the buildings of the area. Although the roof is still missing and the cloister has mostly disappeared, the abbey remains remarkably intact today.