Blog/Blog 2017Saturday December 23rd, 2017

Tuscany, San Galgano Abbey and Mill Falls near Saturnia

In the last days I have spent my time exploring two different spots in Tuscany, waiting for the right moment of the day to shoot the pictures you see below. The first place are the Cascate del Mulino, Mill waterfalls, in Saturnia. The second one is San Galgano Abbey.

Terme del Mulino or Mill Falls are just outside the town of Saturnia. The waterfalls rush into pools etched into travertine rock over the centuries to create a natural spa, where the water is warm and the view is to die for. Actually the word warm doesn’t really do this water justice. It’s 37°C constantly and comes from a source underground containing sulphur and other minerals. The waters that feed the spa and baths originate from springs two hundred metres below the earth and are heated by the thermal activity of Maremma’s volcanoe Monte Amiata, the second largest volcano in Italy. They flow at a rate of eight hundred litres per second filling the individual baths and pools. I was there way before the sunrise to take advantage of the light of the rising sun. i was hoping to see a lot of steam generated by the different temperatures of the freezing cold outside and the hot water. I was lucky enough to enjoy this view. Just an hour after the sunrise the magic had gone. Words are not enough, though, to describe such a beauty. That’s what pictures are for.

The Abbey of Saint Galgano was a Cistercian Monastery found in the valley of the river Merse between the towns of Chiusdino and Monticiano. It was a Romanesque church which was a jewel in its time, but now lies in ruins. It used to be inhabited by monks who used to administer justice in Val d’Elsa. Currently the abbey has no roof and presents a clear view of the sky above, but its walls have stood for centuries. Nearby there is the Eremo or Rotunda di Montesiepi. Legend has it that the noble but dissolute knight Galgano Guidotti from Chiusdino travelled in 1180 to withdraw into the wildness in Montesiepi and renounce the material world. Here he tested his faith by making a cross out of a symbol of violence, thrusting his sword into the rock. After that he retired to a hut and a memorial chapel was built over the hermit’s grave. The Montesiepi chapel is the only Romanesque rotunda in Tuscany. Built on the model of a Classical mausoleum and the Church of the Tomb in Jerusalem, the exterior is a mix of pale travertine and dark brick.
I will definitely go back to both places during different season when colors all around will be totally different.

Mill Falls, Saturnia

San Galgano Abbey

Eremo di Montesiepi

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