Abbey Sant'Antimo in Val d'Orcia in Tuscany/Italy

  Romanesque abbey within a field of olive trees
Sant'Antimo is well worth the trip

Abbey Sant'Antimo, Tuscany/Italy (2017) – In the middle of the pure Tuscan landscape, within rolling hills, vineyards and olive trees, there it is, the famous Abbey of Sant'Antimo. The former Benedictine monastery is located about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) south of the home of the famous "Brunello" wine, Montalcino. After the Abbey was inhabited for centuries by Benedictine monks, from 1992 on the abbey was populated by the Premonstratensian Canons Regular, a group of Roman Catholic priests, brothers and sisters. Since the beginning of 2016, the occupants of the monastery are a community of monks of the Olivetan Benedictine order. A trip to the "Abbazia Sant'Antimo" is well worth it, even if you are not a Catholic, a believer, a churchgoer or simply not so crazy about churches. Sant'Antimo is one of the most beautiful examples of Romanesque architecture, plus the landscape leading to and around the monastery is a real treat for the eyes.
Sant'Antimo has seen a lot and much to tell
Sant'Antimo has many stories to tell but what stands out is the legend around this church. As the legend tells, the abbey was founded by no lesser than King Charles the Great (768 - 814) in 781. "Charlemagne" (Charles I.) – King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 – and his army supposedly stopped on the way back from Rome in the area of Sant'Antimo because many of his soldiers were afflicted by an unknown plague. There an angel appeared to the King, telling him to give his soldiers an infusion prepared with grass of this place. The "medicine" worked and the army was saved and because the King was so grateful, he built the church Sant'Antimo. But as cute the story is, the truth factor equals almost zero. Almost, because the King did, in fact, come to this place but the church then had already been under construction since the year 770. The monastery was ordered by the Lombards and was supposed to serve as a rest stop for pilgrims, merchants and soldiers. History books confirm, Sant'Antimo was built at the beginning of the twelfth century, but the origins of the Abbey are much older. It was Renaissance Pope Pius II, the great son of Pienza, who suppressed the abbey and decided Sant'Antimo's closure in the year 1462. 


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