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June 21, 2011 / TAB

Tuscany-The Holy Mount of San Vivaldo

San Vivaldo was a Franciscan from San Gimignano who retired to the woods as a hermit at the beginning of the 14th century and was later found dead in a hollow chestnut tree where he sheltered. A series of little chapels were built on the site of the convent in the woods recreating the pilgrimage to the Holy Land which had become dangerous to do at the time (1500’s). There were 34 chapels originally but do to earthquakes and vandalism only 18 remain. Unfortunately, no records remain to document the creation history. Inside the chapels are events from the life of Christ represented in terracotta statues from the school of della Robbia.

A visit is accompanied by one of the brothers as all the chapels are kept locked. Call before going or check their website for tour hours.

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