The first nucleus of the city of Abbadia San Salvatore developed around the San Salvatore Abbey, founded in 743 by the Lombard King Ratchis. The abbey was one of the most important monasteries in Tuscany during the Middle Ages, first under the Benedictines and later under the Cistersian order.
San Salvatore Abbey (Abbazia di San Salvatore)
Address: Via del Monastero – 53021 Abbadia San Salvatore. Phone: +39 0577 777352. Opening times: From 08.00 till 19.00 (winter) and 08.00 till 20.00 (summer). opening times Museo dell’Arte Sacra: Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 till 12.00 and from 16.00 till 19.00.
History and description
The Abbazia di San Salvatore was founded by the Lombard King Ratchis. According to legend, the king is said to have seen an apparition of the Holy Trinity on a fir tree at this spot. Since the real reason for building the abbey here was to gain control over the Via Francigena pilgrim’s road, the apparition was probably only a secondary motive for this decision.
The abbey was at its most powerful between the 10th and the 12th century.
The Romanesque San Salvatore church was built in 1036, but its present appearance is the result of a 16th century reconstruction.
The 8th-century crypt is supported by 32 columns with carved capitals.
The frescoes painted by Francesco Nasini date from the 17th century.
The wooden crucifix on the altar was found to contain a little bag with the relics of San Fortunato and San Ponziano. The bag was closed with the seal of San Benedetto.
Museum of Sacred Art
The Museum of Sacred Art is located in the east wing of the complex. Highlights are a gilded bronze bust of Pope Mark and a 7th century reliquary. Unfortunately, many of the artworks originally preserved here were later moved to bigger and more prestigious museums. The most important one of these is the “Codex Amiatinus”, one of the oldest versions of the Bible of Sofronio Eusebio Girolamo, now in the Biblioteca Laurentina in Florence. Sofronio Eusebio Girolamo (347-420) translated the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin.