In Roccastrada, Tuscany, is the 11th-century underground crypt
A farmhouse, a welcoming owner, a Maremma shepherd, a secluded holm oak forest: nothing could be more traditional for a landscape in the Tuscan countryside. Yet a short distance from the farmhouse, hidden among the trees, a gap opens in the ground that leads straight to a crypt underground.
Right from the start you can see that this is not a natural chasm. As soon as you get closer, you can make out an outline in an outline and cross vaults that join on carved capitals resting on columns, almost supporting the ground.
Instead, it is a Benedictine crypt dating from the 11th century, first mentioned in 1076 as the property of the Abbey of San Salvatore at Monte Amiata, not too far from there.
There is a ladder resting on the edge of the cavity that allows one to descend through the breach, where once there was part of the ceiling. Thus it is possible to wander around in a completely buried room, inside which light radiates from above, penetrating through the forest.
The chiaroscuro that is generated makes the environment even more striking, allowing us to admire the details of the four capitals, the three vaults and the wall structure that still supports the crypt, though damaged. Perhaps, at certain times of the day, the glimmering is not so distant from what it must have looked like in medieval times, when the crypt was not isolated a hypogeal structure, but was underlying a much larger monastic complex, deteriorated and now gone.
The Giugnano crypt, dedicated to St. Savior, is located in Maremma not far from the village of Roccastrada, where the presence of the Bai stream ensured a considerable flow of water, especially for the production of hydraulic power. For this reason, in the Middle Ages, numerous mills and a hydraulic factory for metallurgical mining arose in the area, fed by channelized water.
The mining and metallurgical activities acquired more and more prominence over time, accompanying the decline of the monastery and leading to a probable reuse of the monastery material for the expansion of the production facilities.
From the thirteenth century, in fact, the complex was transformed into a grange, and from the fourteenth century began that inexorable course of abandonment even that led to the complete burial of the crypt, but, paradoxically, to its preservation.