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Walking in Tuscany
             
 
L'eremo di Montespecchio
L'eremo di Montespecchio[1]
Walking trails in Tuscany Surroundings
       
   

The hermitage of Montespecchio

   
   

The Hermitage of Montespecchio is one is the hardest to reach. To get there, you have to climb a very steep narrow path called “Conventaccio” by the local inhabitants. The path goes through a dense forest with gnarly trees covered with moss and lichens.The hermitage, dedicated to Mary, was founded in 1190 by a hermit named Giovanni, as a result of a donation by the Capolungo family. An unusual characteristic of this hermitage, differentiating it from the others in the Tuscany area, is its walls of salmon pink and black stone. Of the church, only the skeleton remains, while the surface occupied by the ancient convent is still visible. Montespecchio, for reasons still shrouded in mystery, was almost always in close contact with Lecceto, but, in contrast to Lecceto, it only officially adopted the Augustinian Rule in 1255.[2]

The Hermitage of Montespecchio was built by monks of St. Augustine’s Order in 1192 near the famous serpentinite caves of Vallerano. They managed excavation and sales of the “black marble of Vallerano” as serpentinite was called then, which was in high demand for decorating churches around Italy. It was, for instance, used to build the spectacular Siena cathedral.
The convent was built in two colours: pink and black marble, both valuable and expensive building materials. The church was part of one of the largest Augustinian convent complexes of its time from which only a few foundation stones remain today.

At the end of the 17th century the convent was abandoned, partly, because the buildings were crumbling slowly due to geologically unstable ground and also, as a surviving from those days document says, the monks were tired of being so isolated.

The hermitage is still in the middle of nowhere and is not easy to find. But the beauty of the ruins is undeniable: arched windows, traces of pilasters, the alternating black and red stripes of the outside walls. I could easily imagine how elegant that church was in its glory days. A local cultural foundation published booklets with detailed plans and descriptions of the hermitage and some local enthusiasts have tried to campaign for the church restoration, unsuccessfully. The forest will continue to swallow Eremo di Montespecchio, so if you are near Murlo in the Siena province, don’t miss a chance to see this vanishing beauty. Before it is gone forever…[2]



   
   
 
   
Mappa | L'eremo di Montespecchio


   

 

Information and contacts

Associazione Pro Loco di Murlo
Telefono: 0577.814050
Mobile: 335.6859146
e-mail: prolocomurlo@gmail.com


[1] Photo: Francesco Viti |www.panoramio.com
[2] Source: The Vanishing Beauty in The Tuscan Hinterland |www.greenholidayitaly.com


Notizie storiche su questo edificio sono reperibili sulla Carta Archeologica del Comune di Murlo al seguente link:http://www.bibar.unisi.it/node/346

The Church of Sant’Agostino Hermitage of Montespecchio www.viaesiena.it

Barbara Anselmi, Il marmo nero di Vallerano, MurloCultura 2013 - Nr. 5

Göran Söderberg, Annalisa Coppolaro, Chiese, pievi e segreti sula collina di Siena, Il Leccio 2013





Bibliografia


Scali Luciano, L'eremo di Montespecchio. Un monumento da non perdere, Associazione Culturale di Murlo, Quaderni culturali, n. 3/2010.

Scali Luciano, Le finestre della chiesa di Santa Maria di Rocamadour a Montespecchio, Associazione Culturale di Murlo, Quaderni culturali, n. 2/2008.

Directions

To reach this fantastic millenary ruin it's necessary to drive a few kilometres from Casciano towards the Saline Camping, following for Montepescini, and then we leave the car next to the small Cappella dell'Orsa. On the left a wooden road opens up, we follow this going over a small stream and the acquaduct.
Then a plane opens up, with the indications to get to Convenaccio. The walk along the wood path is altogether about 1,700 meters. The Church which is the only part left of the hermitage, is surrounded by deep vegetation.


Map



The area of the Valle d'Ombrone incorporates the perfect harmony for man and nature. Podere Santa Pia is a restored farmhouse, appointed with terra cotta tile floors, exposed ceiling beams, where you can spread out, relax, and recharge for the next day of activity. Here you find the perfect vacation rental for your needs and desires.
Enjoy fine wine, cheeses and explore medieval Montalcino and Pienza. Explore the medieval hillside villages of Montepulciano, Montefollonico and Montichiello. Marvel at settlements that date back to Etruscan times, Sorano, Pitigliano, Sovana, Roselle...

Tuscany Holiday Homes | Vacation Home to Rent in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia

     
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