Chiusdino

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First under the dominion of the Bishops of Volterra and then of the Municipality of Siena (13th century), Chiusdino rises over a territory mostly covered in forests. The Merse River winds through the valley floor. The main town, with the characteristic concentric urban structure where parts of the old city walls are still visible with the gate to the city, was founded (11th-12th century) as a fortified military point in the Merse Valley. Its significant monuments are the church of San Martino and the Parish Church (alongside the ruins of the birthplace of San Galgano), and its Compagnia di San Galgano Church with an interesting bas-relief.
The Cistercian Abbey of San Galgano rises, secluded, on the plain of the upper Merse Valley. Built by the Cistercians of Casamori in the 13th century, it became one of the most powerful abbeys in Tuscany. The vertical structure, open to the heavens due to the collapsed roof (at the end of the 1700s) offers an image of great charm and harmony. Not far away, the Chiesa di Montesiepi rises, with its round structure, decorated in bands of brick and travertine and covered with a small dome which is also decorated in concentric bands to great effect. In front of the altar is the stone in which, according to legend, the young knight Galgano drove his sword.
Worth a visit: Frosini, the ancient castle of the Gherardesca Counts (1004) today altered by restructuring, Pentolina, Spannocchia, Luriano, Castelletto and the castle of Montalcinello. The pure naturalistic and faunal habitat are a popular destination for trekking, cycling and horse riding.

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