In the valley of the Fiora river, which springs from the southern flanks of Monte Amiata in Tuscany, medieval hermits carved and chiseled the local tuff rock into sacred places of meditation and spirituality. Because of its bucolic and peaceful setting, its unusual architectural details, and the short hike that’s required to reach it, the Poggio Conte hermitage (Eremo di Poggio Conte) is the most spectacular of these spiritual sanctuaries.
The hermits, who were inspired by the Gothic-Cistercian architecture of the time, dug a church and their living quarters in the local, malleable tuff stone at an ancient site that some believe was previously associated with the order of the Templar Knights. The interior of the chapel is adorned with certain symbols that are unusual for a Christian house of worship, suggesting they could have originated from the mysterious order. The site was also strategically placed close to the border between Tuscany and Papal States and the Via Clodia, the ancient high road built by the Romans.
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