Historical and Touristic Notes
Abbadia San Salvatore takes its name from an ancient Benedictine abbey, founded before the middle of the eighth century, at the time of King Ratchis who, according to legend, during a hunting trip on the mountain, had a vision of the Savior on a fir tree.
The abbey of the S.S.mo Salvatore al Monte Amiata, of which Erfo, a Lombard nobleman, was the first abbot, was born to evangelize the mountain and to control the road in the Val di Paglia which in the Carolingian era became the Via Francisca, so called for the first time in a parchment of the abbey in the year 876.
Like the royal abbeys of Berceto, Sesto, Sant’Antimo, San Salvatore also had a close relationship with the strengthening of the road that led from Pavia to Rome. Charlemagne stopped there in 800 when his army, struck by the plague, was cured by the Benedictine monks.
San Salvatore controlled the villages existing on the road in Val di Paglia as: Callemala, with its taverns, the church of Santa Cristina and about three hundred inhabitants; Voltole with the church of San Pietro (to be identified with the Sce Peitr in Pail of the itinerary of Sigerico) and about four hundred inhabitants; Burburigo with the church of Santa Maria and about fifty inhabitants.
Oddone abbot of Cluny stayed in the abbey between 938 and 949. The importance of the monastery as a place of pilgrimage and veneration is recalled by the large number of relics, over 500, and references in the early medieval diplomas of the emperors, the pilgrims begging at the door of the monastery. Among the many relics preserved, we recall in addition to those of the life of Jesus Christ, the Apostles, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Columbanus, St. Frediano, St. Thomas of Canterbury (Thomas Becket) also a fragment of the Holy Shroud.
The abbey had a fundamental role in organizing, in the high Middle Ages, the road in the south of Tuscany, as attested also by the possession in 962 of a tavern in Acquapendente. Starting from the second half of the twelfth century began to prevail a route of the Francigena to Radicofani, however, until the end of the sixteenth century, the way of the valley continued to coexist with the route to Radicofani.
The abbey church, rebuilt under the abbot Winizo, was consecrated in 1036 in the presence of Poppone of Carinzia Patriarch of Aquileia and eighteen between cardinals and bishops.
The facade with the two towers is in westwerk style, a motif of Carolingian and Ottonian architecture, while the crypt, traditionally called Longobard, is an example of premier art roman. The cloister, partly preserved, is the one rebuilt at the end of the 16th century.
The relations with the empire and the Francigena explain the precious objects of art preserved:
the Chasuble of St. Mark, a sciamite cope of the 8th century;
the Irish Scots reliquary from the 7th century;
the wooden Crucifix of the end of the XI century, perhaps by an artist from Burgundy or Westphalia or Swabia;
the reliquary bust of St. Mark Pope of 1381.
In the church you can see a copy of the Amiatina Bible, made in the monasteries of Jarrow and Wearmouth in Northumbria, venerated and admired also by Pope Pius 2 Piccolomini during his stay in the abbey in 1462, when the monastery was inhabited by Cistercian monks. The abbey was suppressed in 1783. The Cistercians returned in 1936 but, currently, the church of the abbey complex is one of the two parishes of Abbadia San Salvatore.
The compact and populous medieval village, built by the abbots at the end of the 12th century, was disputed between Orvieto and Siena in the 13th century, until it came under Sienese control in 1347.
The Church of Santa Croce, built in the early thirteenth century and rebuilt in the early nineteenth century, preserves a beautiful baptismal font of 1509 with the coat of arms of the Piccolomini family.
The palace of the Commune and tower, of the end of the XIII century, preserves on via Cernaia the beautiful medieval facing and a mullioned window with small column.
The Church of Santa Maria, leaning against the Castellina, the first urban nucleus, preserves a beautiful Renaissance portal, while the Church of San Leonardo on the road of the village that led to the mills presents Gothic arches and, on the facade, a cross of hierosolimitana invoice.
Many houses have Gothic and Romanesque architectural and decorative elements. There are also several well-preserved palaces five – seventeenth century, some belonging to important families such as Gotti, Petruccini, Fracassini, Carli, present in a building fabric of simple houses inhabited by a population of farmers, shepherds, woodcutters, carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, furriers.
During the medieval party of the first ones of July, and above all for the Fiaccole, the evening of the eve of Christmas, when piles of wood burn all the night, in the suburb an atmosphere full of ancient suggestions is lived. In the mining museum is narrated the history of the mercury mine, opened in 1897 by German technicians and bankers.
How to reach the town:
From Florence: Siena Sud – Strada SS n° 2 Cassia – San Quirico d’Orcia, signposted Monte Amiata.
From Rome: Exit A1 Orvieto in direction SS Cassia for Monte Amiata
From Grosseto: Superstrada for Siena, Exit Paganico for Monte Amiata.
From Perugia: for Chiusi – Chianciano Terme, direction SS Cassia for Monte Amiata.
From Viterbo: SS Cassia exit at km 153,5. By train: railway station Chiusi – Chianciano Terme and bus to Abbadia San Salvatore.
from Rome/Viterbo COTRAL lines (departure from Acquapendente at 14:30)
from Siena passing through Buonconvento and S. Quirico TIEMME lines
Bus lines – for transfers on the Via Francigena Stages (Acquapendente and San Quirico d’Orcia)
Abbadia San Salvatore – Acquapendente / Acquapendente-Abbadia San Salvatore
Abbadia San Salvatore – Rome / Rome-Abbadia San Salvatore
Abbadia San Salvatore – Siena / Siena- Abbadia San Salvatore
Amiata Viaggi – Autonoleggio Forti – Via Udine 10- 53021 Abbadia S. Salvatore tel 0577-778810 0577 -778171 firstname.lastname@example.org
Abbadia San Salvatore Information Office:
Accoglienza Turistica-Orari Bus tel. 0577-770361
Via Cavour, 82
Via Adua, 33
Loc. Podere Biagiotti Strada Provinciale 65
Loc. Fonte Magria, 158
Località Trefossata 196
Via Serdini 76
Via Trento 37
Via Cavour, 53
Via Esasseta, 40
Località Secondo Rifugio Cantore,70
Via I Maggio, 63
Viale Roma, 30
Via Del Laghetto, 15
La Bocca Di Bacco
Via Cavour, 80,
Via Adua, 11/13
Via Della Pace, 74
Via Trieste, 22
Via Remedi, 108
Piccolo Hotel Aurora
Via Piscinello, 51
Relais San Lorenzo
Località San Lorenzo, 8
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 34
Localita’ Vetta Amiata
Via Cavour, 2
Casa Per Ferie
Via Mentana, 31
Casa Per Vacanze
Loc. Cantore Ii Rifugio 73
+39 331 6871167
Baita Dei Faggi
Via Monte Amiata – Loc. Primo Rifugio
Piazza Della Repubblica
Via Delle Primule
Loc Primo Rifugio Amiatino
Via Pian Della Maddalen
Altone – Loc. Abbadia San Salvatore