Off the Beaten Track in Tuscany: the Abbey of San Galgano

The atmospheric Abbey of San Galgano is about half an hour from Siena and a little over an hour from Florence, but if you’re looking for a Tuscan stop with very few foreign tourists, this is it. 

Jan 2


Take a photo of the incredible roofless ruin, and don’t miss the opportunity for a great picnic. Up the hill, visit the chapel of Montesiepi to see the real (is it really? Maybe.) sword in the stone from the 12th century or admire frescoes by Sienese painter Lorenzetti. Buy some locally-made grappa or honey at the adjacent store, or visit during summer opera season. Mass is held in the church on Sundays at 11.30.


  • Opening times: the website says the church is open during “normal Italian church hours”, which I would interpret to mean that it’s open in the morning, closes for 4 hours in the middle of the day, then opens again about 4.30 pm to about sunset. 
  • Parking: is free in designated areas but (this is one of the things I love about Italy) the website says “if you decide to park wherever you want, don’t complain if you get a fine.”
  • Getting there: there’s no nearby train station, though there is 1 bus a day from Siena that will drop you 1 km from the Abbey. In a nutshell, it’s best to drive.

Photo by NAKKERO

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Posted by on Jan 18, 2010 in Tuscany | No Comments

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