Touring In and Near Montalcino
As some of you know, I have just returned from a week in Italy. I’m still in the process of doing research and tastings, and reviewing my notes for articles, and posts. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some photos from an afternoon touring around and near the town of Montalcino.
Visiting the Abbey of Sant’Antimo
About 10 km/6.2 mi from the town of Montalcino, stands the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. The medieval town hosts only 236 residents at 385 m/1263 ft above sea level. In the heart of the Brunello di Montalcino appellation, Castelnuovo depends primarily on agriculture and some tourism, thanks to its proximity too to the Abbey.
Established as an abbey in the 900s, the current building of Sant’Antimo was built in the 1100s and still hosts an active Benedictine order of monks that continue the practice of Gregorian prayers (in song or chant) multiple times per day.
Inside the chapel, a cross, constructed in the late 12th century stands behind the altar. The church stands as one of the few examples from its time period still intact. Its architecture is therefore unique, hosting primarily Romanesque style with allusions to the pilgrimage churches of France.
holy pictures behind the altar
looking towards the abbey itself, where the monks reside
The vineyards in the distance outside Sant’Antimo also showcase the unique countrysides of Tuscany. Brunello di Montalcino is produced in a region where olive trees readily grow. Vineyards are sometimes interplanted with alternating rows of Sangiovese and olive trees.
the view from the chapel
Lunch in Montalcino
At 567 m/1853 ft in elevation, the town of Montalcino hosts a little more than 5200 residents. The heart of the town spins around small alleys and roadways that wrap the hillside with small shops, enotecas, and sidewalk cafes.
looking up at the bell tower that announces the hour in the center of town
As part of the province of Siena and historically taken as one of the city of Siena’s outposts, the town of Montalcino celebrates similar iconography in the image of the she-wolf carrying for its human young. The image originates in Rome as the story of Romulus and Remus. The founder of Siena, Senius, is the son of Remus and so the region adopts Rome’s she-wolf iconography as part of its own founding strength.
In the center of town sits the Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino.
looking up winding streets of Montalcino
looking up a small residential alley of Montalcino (the town does get snow)
the view from near the top of Montalcino
Thank you to Alessandro Bindocci, and Megan Murphy.
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