The complex consisting of the Eremo or Rotonda di Montesiepi and the ruins of the great San Galgano Abbey of Circestense is one of the most evocative in Tuscany.
In the Rotonda di Montesiepi, stuck in the rock, there is the Sword of San Galgano.
It may seem strange, but the Rotonda di Montesiepi is older than the great Abbey. It was built between 1182 and 1185, above the hut on the hill where San Galgano lived his last year, right where he placed his sword in the rock.
The Rotonda di Montesiepi was the first tomb of the saint, who was buried northly of his sword as if he could have looked at the city of Chiusdino.
The construction of the Great Abbey, down into the valley, started in 1220 (or in 1218) and ended in 1268, when it was officially consecrated by the Bishop of Volterra Alberto Solari.
The Abbey lived a flourishing period for 100 years until 1364, then begun declining because of the practice of the Commenda: in 1550 the Commendatore Girolamo Vitelli dare to sell even the lead roof.
Despite some attempts to restore the convent, in 1789 when the Rotonda di Montesiepi was elevated to Pieve, the Abbey was abandoned and fell into ruin.