Val D'Orcia is a beautiful valley located in the Siena area in Tuscany, Italy. Thanks to the beauty of its landscape, this natural area became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2004. Indeed these stunning panoramas, nowadays wisely preserved, have inspired several famous painters of the Tuscan Renaissance.
Nestled in the heart of Val D'Orcia, you will find an architectural jewel that you can visit, the Abbey of Sant'Antimo.
Find Val D'Orcia and enjoy its places, panoramas, and the food!
Driving through the Val D'Orcia will be an unforgettable travel experience. Soon you will realize what characterizes this site: the contradiction of feeling a wide palette of emotions through the quietness of a uniform hills landscape. Exploring this area, you will easily bump into a beautiful, well preserved medieval hamlet that will make you feel as if you’ve travelled one thousand years into the past. The most famous villages are Pienza, Montalcino, and Radicofani.
Ask for the typical food and drink of the area, such as the wines (Pici, Brunello di Montalcino, DOC Orcia), and the cold cuts and cheeses (Cinta senese, Pecorino di Pienza).
Find a beautiful Abbey nestled in nature
The Abbey of Sant'Antimo is a must visit during your trip through the Val D'Orcia. This religious building represents a rare example of Romanesque art, highlighted by the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
There is a legend about its erection, stating that Charlemagne himself founded the abbey on the way back from his travels in Rome, in 781. Historical accounts have it that he was walking with his army along the Via Francigena, an ancient road running from France to Rome, when he stopped near the abbey.
The first official documents stating the existence of the Abbey of Sant'Antimo are dated back to 814 AC.
Admire a unique example of Romanesque Art
The building, nowadays, was erected between the XI and XII century on an earlier edifice. To gather a certain magniloquence, the abbot of that time asked some French architects to design the new church. Indeed, the building is clearly inspired to the abbeys of Vignory and Cluny in France.
As you can see in the picture, the exterior is built of a local white travertine characterized by golden veining that brightens the entire structure. The bell tower is designed using Lombard architecture, and the portal, dating back to the last decades of the 1200s, is finely decorated.
Take some times to stand in the field around the church, and enjoy this breath-taking landscape!
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Go inside the church and enjoy a unique atmosphere
Inside the church you will enjoy a deep feeling of relaxation, similar to that of meditation. The church consists of three high naves, ending with three chapels. It is presumed that the right chapel was the main chapel of the pre-existing church. Admire the sculptured capitals, the frescoes, and the wooden roof, typical of religious buildings in Tuscany.
Near the church altar you can also find the access for a suggestive crypt. The crypt could also be an earlier work, and maybe used to host the relics of Saint Anthimus.
Find the Val D'Orcia and all its treasures nestled in its amazing landscape
Your trip in Val D'Orcia will be a beautiful experience between history, amazing panoramas, and delicious, typical food.
If you are lucky while visiting the Abbey of Sant'Antimo, you may find its community of Canons Regular Prèmontre celebrating their religious function, singing the Gregorian chants!
The community of monks living in the abbey is also known as the White Canons, recognized by their all white dress..
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