Often reality, faith and legend converge in one place: the Rotonda di Montesiepi is one them
San Galgano: the saint, the king and the sword
This is the story of the knight Galgano and how a vision made him renounce to wealth, war and women in name of a life of meditation and prayer. This is a story where faith, legend, history and literature merge in one intriguing tale, to the dénouement of which, in truth, we won’t be able to come.
This is a story of Tuscan hills, hermits, abbeys and secluded chapels, filled with the scents of incense, religion and popular lore. This is the story of a sword, buried deep into the stone and of the holy man who stuck it there almost 1000 years ago.
Think of the sweet, rolling hills of Siena's countryside, around the middle of the 12th century: we’re in the Middle Ages, magical yet often misinterpreted times of profound faith and chilling superstition, of illiteracy and sublime poetry, of dirt and breathtaking art. An era of dichotomies and opposites, an era, indeed, where the otherworldly crossed into the lives of people with an uncommon regularity, or so literature and tradition passed on to us.
Then, in the Merse Valley, just a handful of kilometers from Siena, our story takes place. It begins with a a married couple of noble descent, who has been having problems conceiving…
Galgano Guidotti di Chiusdino: from debauchery to holyness
Sources say Galgano Guidotti di Chiusino was the only son of Guidotto and Dionisia, a wealthy couple living in their family castle, in the Merse Valley. The two had had problems conceiving and they had almost abandoned all hopes, when Dionisia finally became pregnant. In 1148, she gave birth to a male heir for the family’s fortunes, Galgano.
Saint Francis and Galgano
Galgano and King Arthur
The presence of Galgano’s sword in the Rotonda makes the association between the saint and Arthur’s knights even more enticing. If you add into the mix that the Rotonda has the round shape of a cup (the holy grail is traditionally believed to be either the cup where Christ drank wine from during the Last Supper, or the vessel used to gather his blood during crucifixion) the connection between Galgano, the grail and Arthur seems magically possible.