CLASSICAL TOUR: Already in the Etruscan period Montalcino played an important role due to its strategic position, 564 meters high on a hill, which allowed a perfect controll over the river valleys of the Ombrone and Asso. Since 1559 under Florentine government it was quickly forgotten by great politics and acquired an outstanding reputation only recently thanks to the production of one of the finests Italian red wines, the Brunello di Montalcino.
Our guided tour in Montalcino starts at the Rocca, the forteenth century fortress built by Siena. From here we reach Piazza Garibaldi and the Romanesque-Gothic church of Sant Egidio. After visiting the church, we walk to the Piazza del Popolo, dominated by the elongated tower of the former town hall, an elegant loggia and other late medieval buildings. Not far from this is the cathedral, renewed in neoclassical style at the beginning of the nienteenth century. At the end of our walk in Montalcino, we visit the former monastery of S. Agostino, which houses an important collection of archaeological finds as well as significant works of medieval art.
Our guided tour of Montalcino can be combined with a visit to the nearby abbey of Sant Antimo (see below) or with a wine tasting with Brunello di Montalcino.
As a full-day itinerary, we propose an additional trip to Pienza.
Durata: 1-1,5 hrs. (3 hrs with Sant'Antimo)
Entrance fees: -
A FEW STEPS FROM MONTALCINO
ABBAZIA DI S.ANTIMO: Surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and oak trees, the Abbey of St. Antimo lies 10 km south of Montalcino. According to a legend, the construction of the Abbey was financed through a donation by Charles the Great in 781. Between the eleventh and twelfth century one of the most powerful abbeys in Tuscany, the monastery decayed rapidly during the following centuries and was restored only in the twentieth century.
Our guided tour of the Abbey of St. Antimo presents you one of the most important Romanesque churches in Tuscany. Entirely built with Travertine, a typical stone in this area, the church reveals a strong influence of French architecture in his semicircular apse flanked by radiating chapels, while the bell tower follows patterns of Lombard style. The richly decorated portal introduces into a three-aisled basilica where you will be fascinated by an array of black-and-white frescoes and by the capitals which feature animals and plants. Among them a rappresentation of Daniel in the lion's den, an absolute masterpiece, attributed to the Master of Cabestany.
Duration: 1,5 hrs. (3 hrs with Montalcino)