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“Serene Mountain Abby with Many Aspects”

Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore
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$328.08*
and up
Religious Tuscany and Umbria Fullday from Rome
Ranked #4 of 20 things to do in Asciano
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 2, 2012

The scenery along the drive to visit this beautiful Benedictine abbey makes the journey as enjoyable as the arrival. The setting is a cypress forest and just the walk from the parking lot serves to transport you back in time.
The abbey is celebrated for its marvelous painted fresco cycle of the life of Saint Benedict. This cycle is particularly accessible because they are well preserved, well restored and are well lit by the glassed-in walls of the loggia. The scenes are riveting and I did not need to know anything of the saint's life in order to enjoy them. Each scene has a Latin caption and I spent a little time trying to translate and understand them. (sadly, I do not read Latin!) Example: How the demon destroyed the campanile. How God punished Florence. The paintings by Luca Signorelli and il Sodoma are "considered amongst the most important Renaissance artworks in Italy." The faces of the monks are transporting; the demons are horrifying and the landscapes in the backgrounds are breathtaking.
The solemn church interior is beautiful; the choir stalls (though dimly lit, roped off and slightly hard to see) are masterpieces and a visit to the columned upstairs library is also a must. The imposing architecture is grand but contemplative.
The superb outdoor Andrea della Robbia ceramics have inhabited the niches above the entrance and exit arches for centuries. (Read up on him to find out why they are so special.)

2  Thank bravo-cinzia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"st benedict"
in 15 reviews
"beautiful abbey"
in 10 reviews
"wine cellar"
in 10 reviews
"monte oliveto maggiore"
in 10 reviews
"parking lot"
in 6 reviews
"choir stalls"
in 4 reviews
"frescoes depicting"
in 4 reviews
"tucked away"
in 3 reviews
"working monastery"
in 3 reviews
"daily business"
in 3 reviews
"inlaid wood"
in 4 reviews
"gift shop"
in 4 reviews
"olive oil"
in 7 reviews
"lovely restaurant"
in 2 reviews
"amazing frescos"
in 2 reviews
"robed monks"
in 2 reviews
"tranquil spot"
in 2 reviews
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100 - 104 of 747 reviews

Reviewed November 9, 2012

Tucked away in the Tuscan countryside, this abbey is worth the drive. Plus, the landscape in this area is so stunningly beautiful the trip there is half the fun. , with amazing historic frescos encircling the main cloister and a fairy-tale beautiful library on the upper floor. The church interior boasts beautiful wood-inlay choir stalls, and the abbey still has an active community of monks in residence. Don't miss the wine cellar around the back! Ample parking and lovely restaurant on-site. Excellent hiking in the area, too.

3  Thank Lisa N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2012

We went one Sunday morning to see the Benedictine monks have their 11 AM service in part because we wanted to hear their Gregorian chants. The service was quite interesting even for non-Catholics, and we could follow along with the program even though it was in Italian. The real treat was the 36 frescoes on the life of St. Benedict elsewhere in the abbey, some by Luca Signorelli. While they did not match the exquisite frescoes in the Orvieto duomo, they ware nevertheless worth seeing. The abbey also sells good wine and olive oil. An excellent day trip, especially because to get there you have to drive down the Lauretana, SS 438, perhaps the prettiest drive we have ever done in Italy.

Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Set in stunning scenery, this abbey is a "must see". The building itself is impressive, but the frescoes in the great cloister are stunning! It is a collection of pictures of the life of St Benedict - brilliant! The lectern is quite famous too, but don't miss going to the library where there are thousands of ancient books, but also the most fabulous inlayed cupboard. The whole place is a treasure and for those of you on a budget there is no entrance fee (which after Florence is a refreshing change!

Even if you don't usually "do churches/abbeys/religious buidlings" you will not be disappointed!

Thank Claudia F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 4, 2012

We rented a vespa in the middle of Siena and drove around the countryside for a day - we happened to come across this beautiful and unique property (how lucky are we!) Visiting the tasting room is a MUST, this was some of the only wine we actually thought warranted falling under our 2 bottle maximum on the plane on the way home because of the story and history behind it!

Thank BCWLCW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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