Leaving Asciano, we weaved our way through the beautiful Tuscan countryside to Sant’ Antimo Abbey, not far from Montalcino.
The Benedictine monastery dates back to the Middle Ages and the abbey was completed in 1260.
I love the solitary cypress next to the bell tower.
The landscape of olive trees, vineyards, fields and cypress was an artist’s dream
and the town of Castelnuovo Dell’ Abate stood guard over the abbey.
We wandered around the grounds of the monastery
before entering the abbey to observe the prayers and chanting of the monks.
We were awed by the light streaming in, accentuating the 13th century wooden crucifix behind the altar.
The interior was stunning, the alabaster walls reflected the light
and there was so much detail wherever we looked.
The capitals had intricate carvings,
the most impressive depicted Daniel in the Lions’ Den.
The abbey was known for its Gregorian chanting and the monks started at exactly the scheduled time of 12.45pm. Words can’t describe our ethereal experience, surrounded by those exquisite voices with the Tuscan countryside offering a tranquil portrait in the window frame.
Returning to reality, we spent some time admiring the architecture of the exterior
and found more intricate carvings of animals and humans.
One last look at the spectacular surroundings
and we headed for our next destination, Montalcino.