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Pilgrimage route to the Romanesque abbey of Abbadia a Isola

  • Pilgrimage route to the Romanesque abbey of Abbadia a Isola

    The Romanesque abbey of Abbadia a Isola lies only 4 km from Monteriggioni and makes an appealing walk along a stretch of the Via Francigena pilgrimage route, particularly when surrounded by fields of sunflowers in full bloom. The Benedictine abbey of S. Salvatore all’Isola dates back to 1001, with the site chosen for its strategic position controlling the Via Francigena. It was once more remote: the name (`isola’ means island) reflects the fact that the abbey was surrounded by swampland until the 18th century. For centuries, the abbey acted as a pilgrims’ hospice, providing rest, hospitality and medical care to pilgrims on their way to Rome. The monastery only started to decline in the mid-15th century but still retains its ancient function, with a modern hostel playing host to passing pilgrims. The abbey is centred on the Romanesque church of San Salvatore, complete with its three naves and three apses. Inside the church are precious works of art, including the beautiful panel-painting over the main altar, created in the fifteenth century by the Sienese artist Sano di Pietro. Although ruined, the rest of the abbey is still atmospheric, including the quadrangle of the ancient cloisters and the remains of the bell-tower. Part of the site was swallowed up by farm-building but is currently being restored, even if much is done, including the creation of exhibition rooms, with a Via Francigena centre to come. The fortified abbey also embraces what is today a small hamlet, with lovely views on the walk back, towards walled Monteriggioni.

    Address: Monteriggioni tourist office
    Piazza Roma 23
    Tel: 0577 304834

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