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Sant’Alberto a Montalceto Asciano

CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES

Sant’Alberto  a Montalceto

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Sant’Alberto a Montalceto


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Climbing for about two and a half kilometers, after passing the old Hague of Montalceto, in the middle of the forest we find, as if in a spell, the beautiful Romanesque church of Sant'Alberto. This architectural wonder stands on the hill where the community of Montalceto was located, not far from the tower, which is the only remaining artifact of it.

 

It was probably founded as a hermitage, but the news around this Romanesque church, which certainly was not far from everything, are quite scarce, as well as those relating to the saint to whom it is dedicated. The most reliable source to refer to is the Repetti Dictionary, which reads: "The church, now parish of Saints Sabino and Alberto di Montalceto, in the twelfth century was a hermitage submitted to the parish priest of Asciano, to whom the Pope Alexander III was confirmed with many other churches in that jurisdiction, and we grew up in celebrity after the blessed Alberto eremita Camaldolense lived here in penitence, and here in holiness around 1150 he died.

 

Don Umberto Meattini is one of the few to report on the existence of this saint, and in one of his studies in 1974 he states that it was the first disciple of San Guglielmo di Malavalle. It seems that Alberto da Montalceto, before turning into hermitism, went on pilgrimage to Rome, to the Sanctuary of San Michele on the Gargano, to the tomb of San Giacomo and to the Holy Land.

 

Later, as witnessed by a text of the fourteenth century, Alberto joined Guglielmo di Malavalle. This happened after a brief experience in Camaldolense, but after having embraced for a while the dictates of the Wilhelmites, he decided to resume a personal journey. The Ascianese hermit thus began his search for a spiritual journey outside the conventional schemes of the monastic orders. Something probably similar to what was also pursued by Galgano di Chiusdino.

 

Returning to Sant'Alberto, it must be emphasized that after an intense life of adventures and devotion, he preferred to "return home" taking refuge in a contiguous mound at the Castle of Montalceto, his homeland of origin, The Saint consumed in that place his life of penitence for more than twenty years, during which, in addition to building a hermitage, he worked some miracles and established his own community.

 

The church of Sant'Alberto has a single nave, with an apse to the east and a gabled roof. During the recent restoration, the roof was modeled according to the hypothesized roof supported by wooden trusses. The internal and external walls are made of well-worked, squared, sandstone blocks and limestone blocks arranged in regular courses. On some internal walls there are plastered areas that prevent a complete examination of the stratigraphy of the wall itself.

 

The Chapel of Sant'Alberto has recently been restored by Simonpietro Salini, owner of Montecalvoli and the Castello di Gallico. It can be reached by a nice walk through some paths in the woods that surround it.
 

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