A fortress, a sienese cassero, Montelaterone; a nature reserve, Mount Labbro; a Buddhist center, Merigar; a village that grew around an abbey, Abbadia San Salvatore, an enchanted mountain, a volcano, Mount Amiata.
An enchanted mountain, a volcano, Mount Amiata.
Whoever touches these places touches a millennial history that has passed through narrow streets and mule tracks, squared into the walls of houses and parish churches, marked in the wrinkles of every secular tree, transmitted in the blood of each generation that inhabited them. A history that has remained uncorrupted in spite of time and that can be read backwards in time, choosing where to start, in stages, in ages and in years.
Take the ninth century with the monks at Montelaterone, where a castle tells stories of families and conflicts. There are the infinite silences and essentiality of Monte Labbro that have been present since the time of the Etruscans. In the cinnabar of Abbadia San Salvatore there is the vocation of a territory that saves a people from poverty. And then there is the energy of the mountain of fire which, since 1981, has made Merigar the “home of energy”, as the Tibetans who live there say.
Mount Amiata is a microcosm, a small world in which the elements of nature create a unique alchemy that stops time. Like a house in which there is everything, no place and no time is missing in this land that evokes history and suggests landscapes to the soul. It is here, in this volcanic land that draws energy from the centre of the Earth, that legends, visions, fantastic stories are born, such as those of the love between Adalberto and Gherarda of the Aldobrandeschi and of the Beech tree of the Countess, of the Dragon of Santa Fiora and of the Merlin the Magician.


Perhaps it is the song of the earth and its depths, perhaps it is the vapours of the volcano that spread in the air, perhaps it is the uncorrupted nature blessed by the sky. Amiata emanates spirituality and awakens it. It is here that one feels God, whether one calls Him Christ, Buddha or Jupiter. The presence of the divine is palpable, nature is powerful and its force has drawn here Etruscans, Christian and Tibetan monks. There is no place on Amiata that did not come into being around a sacred place. The warm, healing waters venerated by the Etruscans and Romans, who brought their gods and their domestic Lares to spas and settlements here, recall the breath of the Earth. A sacred mountain for the Etruscans, in 1869 Monte Labbro became the spiritual center of the jurisdavidic followers of the “prophet of Amiata”, David Lazzaretti. A tower, a cave, a cross, the summit of the mountain one step away from heaven and a procession every August 14th to remember the founder of the religious movement.
The experience of Abbadia San Salvatore is like a return to primitive Christianity and its symbols, with the crypt and its 32 columns that speak in the secret code of images by combinations of numbers and figures. Solomon and the Gordian knot, the representations of Christ through animals and trees, all refer to a time when faith had to remain hidden, as a secret to be revealed to the few.
A spirituality which in Merigar, on the mountain of fire, where the largest Buddhist centre in Europe was founded, tells another story and another god, other rites, but the same urgency: to free the soul.


If I close my eyes I still see the images running quickly in my mind: there they are, those places and those characters of the many legends my grandmother recounted to me.
I dreamed and desired to live those stories, meet those characters and walk in those woods full of magic.
I have tried to recreate the same atmosphere that enchanted me and to recount those simple emotions and those values with which I grew up.
The places of Amiata have always liberated my mind and body.

(I thank doct. Eleonora Mancini Dupont for the texts)

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