Sant'Antimo abbey is one of Tuscany's most beautiful examples of Romanesque architecture and was one of the most powerful monasteries around Siena in the medieval ages. The works on the originally benedictine monastery started in 1118 and ended in 1260 (without the convent having ever been finished). Life at the abbey can't have been to bad. At least to judge from the fact that the abbot who looked over the monastery in the 15th century his abbot was put into prison for lewd behavior. From there on things kept going downhill. Renaissance Pope Pius II decided to close Sant'Antimo down in 1462. He was turning his birth town Corsignano into Pienza and needed to expand the territory for his nephew - the bishop of the newborn town!
The monastery started to crumble, but never lost its splendor even though the crypt was used as a wine cellar and the church as a shed by the farmers who inhabited the convent buildings in the 19th century (I kind of envy them).
In the 1980s efforts were made to restore the church and return Sant'Antimo to spiritual life. Today, after a break of more than 500 years, a small community of around 8 canon regulars from France and Italy lives and prays at Sant'Antimo. Vespers and mess are accompanied by Gregorian chants and are open to the public (as long as you don't disturb). The church is surrounded by olive trees and fields and one single cypress tree bears testimony to a thoughtful monk (or farmer?) who planted it right next to the monastery's bell tower. The man knew what he was doing.
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Tony Moglia's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. He's a dual citizen who has traveled extensively throughout Italy for 40 years. He's happily married to a vibrant dancer who together have two children and three grandchildren. Tony has dreamed of Villas of Italy since his first trip to Italy, and now he shares his dream with you.