Calci | Hermitage of San Bernardo or Costa d’Acqua

The hermitage is located in Val Graziosa, near Calci on Mount Pisano, where in the Middle Ages several hermits or small communities of monks arose, living in poverty, dedicated to solitude and prayer, but also in the service of the nearby inhabitants. The hermitage gets its name, Costa d’Acqua, from the springs that flow in the area.

It is believed that the construction of the church dates back to a time before the year 1000. The hermitage, originally dedicated to Saints Jacopo and Verano, is considered one of the oldest in the Monti Pisani, along with the Hermitage of Mirteto, with which it shares strong similarities both in structure and iconography. In 1212, the hermitage was dedicated to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the name by which it is known today. Tradition has it that Saint Bernard visited and stayed in this place during the synod of Pisa in 1135 convened by Pope Innocent II. With the crisis of the hermitages, the building came under the ownership of the Benedictines and Olivetans before becoming private property in the late 18th century. Today, it is managed by an agritourism cooperative.

On the 20th of August every year, the Provost of Calci celebrates a mass dedicated to Saint Bernard at the hermitage.

The small building in Pisan Romanesque style, constructed with squared blocks of Verrucano stone, features a single nave and lacks an apse. On the façade and the right side, large corbels are visible, which in ancient times were meant to support a wooden portico. On the façade, there is a large cross-shaped window. It does not have a bell tower but rather a bell gable. On the right side, a second door opens, and at the top, there are two windows. The rear wall has a long central window, while the left side has no openings.

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