Art and music come together under the auspices of Chiusdino’s knight-turned-miracle-saint, with a display of sacred art at the town’s newly opened museum, and the initiation of its summer music program at the spectacular roofless Abbey of San Galgano.
Fans of local legendary figure San Galgano have a new site of cultural interest at Chiusdino to explore. The San Galgano Civic Museum of Sacred Art was inaugurated in December 2015 and displays medieval artworks and sacred relics gathered from surrounding communities, including a magnificently preserved Madonna and Child (1336) by Niccolò di Segna, originally located at Montesiepi, and a marble bas-relief (1466) by Urbano da Cortona depicting a decisive moment in the San Galgano story.
Famous for driving his sword into a stone in the twelfth century after seeing a vision of the Archangel Michael, San Galgano renounced his worldly ways and his sword remains embedded to this day at the tiny circular Chapel of Montesiepi. Modern-day pilgrims on the San Galgano trail can also visit the saint’s birthplace at Chiusdino where, according to legend, his horse knelt before the vision of St Michael, leaving impressions of both knees in the rock.
Meanwhile, music floats through the arches of the Abbey of San Galgano on June 26th as internationally renowned flautist Andrea Oliva performs under the night sky with award-winning pianist Marta Cencini. The program showcases pieces by Poulenc, Böhm, Martin, Doppler and Morlacchi, and is introduced by an ensemble of young flautists directed by Maurizio Valentini. Described as “a shining star in the world of flute” by Sir James Galway, Oliva is principal flautist at the Orchestra of the National Academy of St Cecilia in Rome, while Cencini has performed in some of Italy and Europe’s most esteemed concert halls.
The abbey was built in the thirteenth century by Cistercian monks, however plague, lightening bolts, disrepair and looting took their toll over subsequent centuries. Now a roofless ruin rising from green hills and sunflower fields, the abbey provides a dramatic and surreal environment for Chiusdino’s summer music program. The concert begins at 9:15pm and tickets cost just €8. For more information, visit www.musicachiusdino.it.