Italy 2015 ~ Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore & Asciano, Tuscany

We decided to take the girls to the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore to see the fantastic frescoes in their Great Cloister, and do some wine and grappa sampling at the monastery’s wine cellar. The cloister paintings were begun by Luca Signorelli in 1495 and completed by Antonio Bazzi, known as il Sodoma, in 1505.

The Abbey also has a gift shop where they sell their homeopathic remedies, gifts and souvenirs. In their wine cellar they sell wines and grappa and olive oil and grains that they produce. Learn more about their history and famous frescoes at their website: http://www.monteolivetomaggiore.it/

We left our little hamlet on a beautiful morning for the short drive…

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IMG_0033As you near the Abbey the landscape is cratered and very dramatic. This is the Crete Senesi area.

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IMG_0055Out of respect, they ask you to cover bare arms and chest with a black shawl they provide.

IMG_0057Denise models her shawl style

IMG_0060Entering the Great Cloister…

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IMG_0206We overheard a tour leader telling about the paintings – These skimpily dressed ladies were prostitutes!

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IMG_0047Upstairs they have a library and book restoration area. Sadly they were closed when we were visiting.

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IMG_0042Down the hill beneath one of the buildings is the wine cellar. We really liked their wines last time and they were just as good this year. We bought a sampling of wine and grappa to enjoy later.

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IMG_0064Loaded with purchases, it was time for the hike up the hill to the parking area.

IMG_0212Along the way I noticed honeybees in a tree next to the road.

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Monica, Wally and Denise at the Abbey entrance.

IMG_0219Next stop – lunch! The small town of Asciano is just minutes away, and that was our choice for lunch. This is a charming little town with few people. We stepped into the church and did a quick tour of town.

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IMG_0087We chose one of the outdoor cafes and had salad and sandwiches.

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IMG_0732We journeyed through the countryside for a while…and figured out quickly that the black and red arrow meant a one lane bridge ahead and the red arrow side better use caution!

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IMG_0236A flock of sheep in the distance lured us closer

IMG_0235We were charmed to see a shepherd sitting on the hill watching his flock.

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IMG_0246Always that one black sheep…and this flock had a few!

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IMG_0243We arrived back in time to our village to fix snacks and wine and head to the top of the hill for our evening poolside sunset rendezvous.

IMG_0048Salute!

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IMG_0725Our sunset front row seating…  IMG_0177

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IMG_0053Buona notte!

Up next, wine tasting at Montalcino and a family-style Italian dinner just down the road.

 

Categories: Travel: ITALY | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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