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The Romanesque oratory of San Galgano sits atop a hill known as Mount Siepi. The historical link between the oratory and the ruins of the abbey in the valley below , from where I captured this image, reads like a chapter out of the King Arthur legend. The oratory was completed in the 12th century, a year after Galgano Guidotti, a 12th century nobleman, was canonized as St. Gawain. Galgano lived as a hermit on Mount Siepi during the latter years of his life. The Mount Siepi church is built where he knelt and prayed before the sword he’d driven into a rock, so that its hilt formed a cross. On his deathbed Galgano wore the Cistercian habit. Around the end of the 12th century, Cistercian monks founded the impressive San Galgano abbey, one of the best examples of Gothic-Cisterian architecture in Italy. The church part of the complex was built in the 13th century.
In the Then and Now photo essay.
Also by Deborah Downes
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