The San Michele alle Formiche Hermitage
A unique story
The S. Michele hermitage was built on the Spartacciano hill, on the road connecting Pomarance and Larderello. It was built in 1377 and it was originally meant to house people who wanted to isolate from the world to atone for their sins and purify themselves, which was a common practice in the 14th century.
Today, a few pieces of the external walls are all that’s left, which makes it hard to figure out what the original structure of the hermitage was. However, one can still see the structure of the church, which was probably surrounded by other facilities.
The name of the hermitage, which means “Saint Michele at the Ants”, can be related back to the phenomenon that sees swarms of winged ants gathering around the belltower of the monastery around the 29th of September, which is the day dedicated to Saint Michele.
Underneath the San Michele Hermitage, there’s a thermal bath called Bagno di Spartacciano, which was likely already used in Roman times and is better known as
Bagno di San Michele alle Formiche.