La Cappella country residence is today an upmarket residence for a clientele who enjoy spending one or more weeks of complete relaxation with all modern comforts, enjoying the social and cultural atmosphere in the embrace of this typical and unique part of the Sienese countryside.
La Cappella di Montesiepi is immersed in the green of the Tuscan countryside, on the hilltop of Montesiepi, a hill described in tourist guides as "collina del sole" or sunshine hill, in a position which is unrivalled, even in a region such as Tuscany, so rich in panoramic scenery. The building is right next to Montesiepi Hermitage, where legend has it that Galgano Guidotti, a local knight, in a sudden redemptive impulse, thrust his sword into the rock. The sword can be found today in the same position inside the Church and has been there since the end of the 12th century. The arrival of monks from Clairvaux and the simultaneous entry into the monastery of many of the Sienese nobility, who adopted the Cistercian habit, highlighted the lack of facilities in the monastery and the need to provide an adequate structure to accommodate the growing community.
The construction in around 1250 of the Abbey of San Galgano, a Gothic monument of exceptional architectural workmanship, allowed the construction of a more adequate and comfortable monastery near to the abbey, a choice suggested also by the proximity of a fresh water spring for their water supplies. As a result, the monks all moved down to the valley and the old monastery fell into gradual decline after about two centuries of use. Nevertheless, in the following centuries, the old monastery did not fall short in its duty to provide accommodation in the service of the religious order. Indeed, the pilgrims who followed the Via Francigena found hospitality with the monks at the old monastery before continuing on their journey.
In the following centuries, decline due to politics and factional interests struck the region, including the religious orders, and the area of San Galgano did not escape this fate. For centuries the whole area suffered total neglect with consequent depopulation of the district, mainly due to the lack of economic input which had until then been produced by the activities of the religious order.
The agricultural holdings owned by the monastic order passed, in most cases, into secular hands and the new owners, although cultivating the land for economic purposes, did not undertake any restoration work. The Second World War contributed in no small part to the decline of the former monastery; indeed, it was used by the Allied troops as an observatory, and also suffered the indignity of an artillery attack by the retreating German troops. It was not until the sixties that the trend was reversed. This occurred when Tommaso Cingolani, a shrewd and enlightened entrepreneur, became the owner. He immediately realised the potential of the place, and, being a tenacious defender of the historical heritage passed down to us by the Roman and medieval civilisations, he decided, not without considerable difficulty and misunderstanding, to bring the places back to life, as worthy of their original interest, and so he began the complete restoration of the monastery.
For the restoration process he consulted some of the major historians of Tuscan art, thus succeeding in making the places habitable so that they could be enjoyed once more, while respecting the original design and searching out the old materials of the period for the restoration in order to remain true to the original. This is how the restoration took place of what is known today as "La Cappella – country residence".
His heirs, respecting his wishes, have completed the work.. The restoration was completed in 2000. The monumental importance of "La Cappella", a true jewel of Tuscan art, daily arouses the interest of historians and experts in the search for knowledge, as well as specialised publishers. Articles about the building are often published in newspapers, magazines, major tourist guides, calendars and History of Art publications. The RAI, the Italian state broadcasting authority, has frequently broadcast programmes, both nationally and regionally, about the area of San Galgano, and the principal state Institutes of Art bring their students to the hill of Montesiepi for study trips.