Hidden treasures

The Abbey of Sant’Antimo in Montalcino: one, two, three legends!

Mysteries & Legends

The Abbey of Sant’Antimo in Montalcino: one, two, three legends!

The Via Francigena was an ancient road followed by pilgrims on their way to Rome or even to the ports of Puglia to reach the Holy Land. This itinerary was described for the first time in the 10th century by the English Bishop Sigeric upon returning from Rome, but some attestations seem to suggest that it was already in use in the previous century. Among the famous people who apparently completed at least part of this journey there also seems to be Charlemagne. His passage through one of the Tuscan parts of the Via Francigena seems to have fuelled the legends surrounding the construction of one of the most beautiful abbeys in the area.

In 781 Charlemagne was returning from Rome where he had visited the Pope, who gave him some relics of the Saints Sebastian and Antimo as a gift. Like all other emperors, he did not travel alone but with a large following of servants and soldiers. Meanwhile in the area of Mount Amiata a terrible plague raged, claiming one victim after another. When Charlemagne was about to reach the River Starcia, worried about his army, he made a vow asking for grace for himself and his entourage. There is also a sort of legend of the legend, according to which an angel appeared to Charlemagne, indicating him a herb he should use to prepare an infusion. Legend has it that this miraculous potion saved him and all his followers from the tragic destiny. So they all survived and Charlemagne, as a sign of gratitude, built the beautiful abbey near Montalcino that we can still admire today. To tell the truth, the legends on Sant'Antimo don’t end here and the credit of building the great building seems to go to some fairies: these magical creatures carried the columns on their heads and the stones on their fingers and completed the construction of the whole abbey in one night.

Legends aside, the ancient Abbey of Sant'Antimo remains one of the most fascinating examples of Romanesque architecture. This beautiful building is located very close to Montalcino, and is even inserted in the frame of one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany, full of picture-perfect landscapes, excellent wine and charming villages to visit. The best way to visit this area it is to take advantage of one of our fantastic activities where you can combine the discovery of these treasures with tastings, lunches and even some relaxing time at a spa. Take a look at our section on the villages of Tuscany and you will definitely find the right one for you.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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