San Galgano, Abbey of

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SAN GALGANO, ABBEY OF

Former Cistercian abbey on Monte Siepi, near Siena, in Tuscany, Italy. cistercian monks from Casamari built a small church and hermitage there at the site of the tomb of St. Galgano (d. c. 1181) in 1185. In 1206 a group of Cistercians arrived from clairvaux, and Pope Innocent III confirmed the abbey. Between 1224 and 1288 the monks constructed a large church and abbey at the foot of the hills. Under episcopal, aristocratic, and civil patronage it grew rapidly in wealth and influence. During the 13th century siena sought and received aid from these Cistercians in financial and architectural affairs. Signs of decay were apparent in the 14th century, and the abbey lands were plundered by the Company of Adventurers. The 15th century was a period of revival, but the old splendor never returned. In 1509 Pope Julius II gave the abbey in commendation. Urban VIII reduced its status as an abbey in 1632, and it was secularized in 1652 when the Cistercians withdrew. The ruins show the style of French Cistercian architecture.

Bibliography: a. canestrelli, L'Abbazia di San Galgano (Florence 1896). f. schevill, "San GalganoA Cistercian Abbey," American Historical Review 14 (190809) 2230. p. toesca, Storia dell'arte italiana nel medioevo, 2 v. (Turin 1927).

[m. b. morris]

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