If you are fleeing the frenetic pace of everyday life and you are looking for peace and quiet, a stop at the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is a must.
The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is located in Asciano in the splendid territory of the Crete Senesi. We are south of Siena, about 10 km from Podere Salicotto. Monte Oliveto is a beautiful monastic complex, a treasure chest where you can relax and enjoy the charm and the spirituality of this place.
VISIT THE ABBEY
From the parking you enter the abbey on foot, crossing a drawbridge. As soon as you have passed the medieval fortification building, you will enter another dimension. From here, a long road with cypress trees leads through the silent and tranquil park to the Abbey. Halfway along you will see a large tank that was used for fish breeding in the 16th century.
The history of the abbey dates back to the fourteenth century, when the Sienese nobleman Giovanni de Tolomei with Patrizio Patrizi and Ambrogio Piccolomini decided to retire to monastic life in a remote location owned by Tolomei family, 36 kilometers south of Siena. They decided to join the order of the Benedictines, following the rule “ora et labora”. During the visit you will hear the sound of the bell that still marks the monastic life.
You have crossed the evocative road with cypress trees and you have arrived in front of the monastic complex. The structure is classic: a large church, a main cloister and other smaller ones, a chapter hall and a refectory. In Monte Oliveto Maggiore there is also a wonderful library.
The visit starts from the Church, built in the 15th century, but transformed inside in the 18th century in Baroque style. The church has the appearance of a museum of sacred art with great masterpieces. The inlaid and carved chancel will immediately attract your attention. It is a truly magnificent piece, one of the most important examples of this kind in the world.
TIP: We suggest you to attend the Mass with Gregorian chants officiated by the Olivetan Monks. On weekdays at 6.30pm and on weekends at 11.00am.
THE GREAT CLOISTER
From the church you can reach the Great Cloister with its frescoes: the real attraction of the Abbey. The frescoes by Luca Signorelli and Antonio Bazzi date back to the late 15th century and are considered a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance. Bright colors and images full of details give a fascinating view of life and landscapes in the past.
From the Cloister, continue through the refectory and up the stairs until you reach the chapter hall and the library. The book heritage of the monks of Monte Oliveto Maggiore includes rare manuscripts and a version of the Divine Comedy translated into Latin verses by Father Matteo Ronto.
WINE CELLAR AND TYPICAL PRODUCTS
Before leaving the Abbey we recommend a visit to the cellar under the cloister where you can taste the wine of the monks. In the upper courtyard next to the church you will also find a souvenir shop where you can buy typical products of the Abbey farm.
Standard time: 09.15am – 12.00pm / 3.15pm – 5.00pm
Summer time: 9.15am – 12.00pm / 3.00pm – 6.00pm
Sunday morning closing is at 12:30
The entrance to the Abbey is free
Pets are not allowed inside the Abbey
Guide of the Abbey – Dino Benincasa +39 0577718567 (meals)
For any information +39 0577 707611
HOW TO ARRIVE
You can reach the Abbey through the Cassia road from Buonconvento or from Asciano. We suggest you also to admire the Abbey from afar, stopping in the delightful village of Chiusure.