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Renato Pantini

Chapel of Montesiepi from Abbey of San Galgano.

Taken near Chiusdino, Tuscany, Italy.

(May 2010).

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San Galgano's hermitage on the hill is called Montesiepi. The small round chapel of Montesiepi preserves the sword in the stone that San Galgano plunged in 1180 into a rock to have an altar to pray at.
If the sword really dates to 1180, decades before the first literary reference to the "sword in the stone," it would support the theory that the Celtic myth of King Arthur and his sword Excalibur developed in Italy after the death of Galgano. "Further evidence may lie underneath the rock, but the Arthurian link is almost impossible to prove. It will remain one of the many mysteries that surround St. Galgano. More multidisciplinary studies are needed to understand what the hill of Montesiepi hides.
The inside of the domed roof is constructed with 24 concentric circles of alternating white stone and terracotta - a different and very beautiful small "neo-Etruscan" space. The church also preserves a series a frescos by the Sienese painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti and also offers a breathtaking view of the Abbey, the neighboring buildings and the beautiful surrounding countryside.

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