Hidden treasures

The legend of St Minias, the beheaded saint

Mysteries & Legends

The legend of St Minias, the beheaded saint

Saint Minias is a highly venerated Saint in Tuscany. Evidence of this is for instance the charming village in the province of Pisa that takes its name from him and San Miniato al Monte, the Church that stands on a hill near Piazzale Michelangelo and from which you can enjoy a wonderful panorama of Florence.

But who was St Minias? As is often the case, since there are no reliable sources, there are several hypotheses. Moreover, legends and mysteries are mixed with more or less realistic facts, that are often difficult to explain but nonetheless incredibly fascinating. According to one of two hypotheses, Minias was actually an Armenian King who had the misfortune of being in Florence around 250 A.D. during the period of the persecutions of Christians. According to legend, he refused to worship the Emperor Decius and the Gods and because of this he suffered a terrible fate. He was tortured in all possible and imaginable ways but since he emerged unharmed, he was finally beheaded. All this happened in a sort of amphitheater that stood in the area of present-day Santa Croce. Here comes a horror-movie style twist. The Saint apparently stood up, put his head under his arm and went to the hill above Florence. For this reason, the Church of San Miniato al Monte was built on the site.

According to another hypothesis, Minias was a Roman soldier, but the finale with torture and the headless Saint who goes around Florence remains the same. In this case too, the Church, which overlooks Florence and the Arno from a hill, was built in his honor.

Florence hides many other gory stories like this one. If you want to discover them, book our tour 'Scary Florence: private tour among ghosts, mysteries and thriller stories.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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