In the several Augustinian historical journals after World War II, there are references to dozens of Tuscan hermitages (amidst possibly a greater number of other hermitages in the Benedictine tradition) that went on to be involved with the Little Union of hermitages in 1244 and/or the Augustinian Grand Union of 1256.
A summary of this research will be uploaded here on Augnet at a later date.
In many cases, all this is known of a given hermitage is a cryptic reference or two in civil or ecclesiastical records as it received a necessary permission to accept a donation of land or to erect a public chapel, etc. In numerous cases, neither the actual location nor many other details about such a hermitage is any longer known.
It is difficult – in fact, almost impossible – to tally just how many hermitages have existed in 11th-century and 12th-century Tuscany – a geographic area larger than what is called Tuscany today – at any one time.
Even if it is presumed (perhaps unwisely) that every hermitage that existed was captured in what ancient civic and ecclesiastical records of Tuscany still exist today, there is the real problem that a given hermitage may have moved its location as the number of its members increased, thus introducing the factor that such a group of hermits could mistakenly be counted twice in any tally that has been attempted.
The double counting could also happen if a particular hermitage was described differently in different sources, such as by the name of its patron saint in one description, and according to its geography in another, e.g., Hermitage of S. Giorgio in one document, and Eremo della Spelonca in another.
There is also the factor that, over the two centuries under consideration, a suitable area for a hermitage could have hosted a number of quite distinct hermitages successively or even simultaneously.
In a word, the problem of tallying these hermitages will never be satisfactorily solved. They began as local initiatives, without any initial networks of interaction or mutual planning, and these hermits themselves had no intention of spending time counting hermitages or of ensuring the clarity of their place in the historical record eight centuries later.