Anne's Blog

  • tuscan-treasures

Tuscan Treasures in Winter Hibernation

Date: January 27, 2011 - categories: - Leave your thoughts

The hilltowns of central Italy – Tuscany, Umbria – slumber in winter hibernation: no tourists at all and not many “locals” affront icy winds blowing through the twisting medieval backstreets. In the tinier towns – like Chiusdino (population 2000) in the province of Siena – the Tourist Office is tightly sealed up, the trattoria is closed for the season – and in the main piazza, you might – or might not – meet “solo quattro gatti“, as the Italians say. In Chiusdino yesterday, we didn’t even see “four cats” in the piazza, just a couple hardy souls, heads down, affronting the chill and one brave woman washing her mop at the local fountain. The local elderly men were of course in the one open café, playing cards. Hanging wash fluttered in the wind and gave touches of color to the gray stone and weathered brick buildings. Outside some doors, small piles of logs lay ready for woodstoves.

Labyrinthine backstreets – typical of medieval fortress towns – wound up to the church of San Michele. I pushed open the heavy door: dark inside and only one small chapel was lit up, housing a peculiar oval object with a sword sticking out of it. A plaque on the wall identified it: the reliquary (in the shape of a “sword-in-the-stone”) held the skull of San Galgano, born here in 1148. The knight Galgano led a life of debauchery until St. Michael the Archangel appeared to him as he was out riding in the late 12th century. The errant knight’s horse reverently knelt down before the Archangel. Logicamente, the knee print of the horse is miracously embedded in a rock preserved in a small chapel next to San Galgano’s house. Whether his house or not, the Romanesque building is charming and over the door is a plaque depicting San Galgano on horseback before S. Michele Arcangelo.

San Galgano left behind his bellicose life for a mystical heremitic path, founding the abbey church (which bears his name) in the valley below Chiusdino. He literally thrust down his arms: driving his sword into a rock. The “sword in the stone” fascinated our children when we visited the Abbazia di San Galgano with them many springs ago. For us, most fascinating was the monumental Gothic abbey church itself, roofless and open to the sky, grass now growing in the wide nave lined with massive columns and elegant Gothic pointed arches, rose window now a gaping hole with only tufts of grass where there had once been brilliant stained glass.

spada

Reliquary (in shape of the sword-in-the-stone) holding San Galgano’s skull

We had to stop there to see it again yesterday.

No tourists around this time. Just us in silence as the sun set low on the abbey, the red winter sunset higlighting the Gothic majesty. A Tuscan treasure in winter hibernation.

Chiusdino (Click to enlarge photos)…

abbey-2

abbey

comizio

Abbey of San Galgano…

church-2

church

architrave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website www.annesitaly.com
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
TYPE OF DATA TREATED
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address anne@annesitaly.com

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)