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Località Casisano, 52
53024 Montalcino SI

As you observe the elegant profile of Montalcino from the slopes of its hill, it is clear that the city is rich in churches and religious buildings, which in number and importance constitute a unicum, testimony of the vital role religion played in past centuries. Among the most notable are the Cathedral of San Salvatore, built on a Romanesque church of the year 1000 in the oldest and highest point of the city, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso, the patron saint of Montalcino.  Exemplary is the Church of Sant’Egidio built by the Sienese in the fourteenth century, where the flags of the 17 Contrade del Palio di Siena are exceptionally preserved. Stroll around the imposing complexes of the Churches and Convents of Sant’Agostino and San Francesco.  The Church of Sant’Antonio Abate to the Church of San Lorenzo in San Pietro, passes through the small churches of Santa Croce, della Misericordia and Corpus Domini. This complex formed the secular seats in the Middle Ages, of which Montalcino was unusually rich, and essential Hospitals, which operated for the social and health care of the city.

The most “powerful” of them all was the Hospital of Santa Maria della Croce, whose vast patrimony in real and personal property also included farms, orchards, mills, vineyards and olive groves scattered throughout the countryside. Even the territory reflects the religious soul of Montalcino: villages, castles, villas and farms – today owned by numerous Brunello wineries which, in many cases, have saved them from abandonment – are almost always characterized by the presence of churches and chapels. A stunning example next to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, the Romanesque “jewel” in Tuscany, is the Parish Church of Sant’Andrea Apostolo at Badia Ardenga. The church was the most important sacred monument in the area after Sant’Antimo.  As you stroll, take notice of the fourteenth-century Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and the Church and Convent of Santa Maria dell’Osservanza just outside the city walls. From there visit the Pieve di San Michele Arcangelo, which preserves frescoes by Pietro Lorenzetti, and the Pieve di Santa Restituta, the oldest in the area. We’ve only named a few, but it should give an idea of the remarkable presence religion has played in Montalcino’s history.

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