The origins of I Romiti del Torrente can be traced back to Roman times, when it is thought to have served as a fortified watch post for the Roman army.
Its strategic position and perfect orientation for cultivation secured it a future existence of a very different nature. In 1214 the people of neighbouring Trassilico gifted the fertile lands and buildings known then as l‘Eremo di San Galgano to the hermits who had taken up residence there. The course was set for centuries of rich and eventful history.
Among their number, one Fra Stefano became a founding member of the Tuscan hermits, later to become the Order of Saint Augustine. The monks built an imposing church to serve the local community and the monastery thrived for more than two centuries.Commercially minded and well educated , the monks forged iron in the valley below and the famed treasure they were said to hoard was no more than the precious metals that they found in seams in the mountains around them. However as the population drifted citywards, the monks struggled to maintain the fabric and in 1461 it was closed, with the three remaining brothers sent to join a monastery in Lucca.
The site was sold by the Order to a local family in 1550, with the church still active under the curatorship of the local church in Fabbriche di Vallico. Under a succession of private owners the site was enlarged to create an agricultural estate cultivating fruit, nuts and vines on the south facing terraces.
The church was extended and provided an imposing family chapel.
However by the 20th century, Italian laws of succession had resulted in divisions in the ownership of church, land and buildings. The church was deconsecrated and war and depopulation saw a decline and eventual abandonment of the once thriving hamlet.
The restoration of I Romiti has been undertaken by local craftsmen using local materials and with painstaking attention to the preservation of the historic fabric. Sustainability has been at the heart of the approach: the mountain spring from which the monks drew their water and irrigated their crops still provides the water supply, and state of the art energy and waste management systems ensure minimal impact on the environment.