Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Art 3 Hours Culture

Monte Oliveto Maggiore

This magnificent abbey was founded in 1319 by three Sienese noblemen, that had decided to abandon luxury and wealth to retreat in solitude and live according the Benedictine rule.

Bernardo Tolomei, Patrizio Patrizi and Ambrogio Piccolomini chose a place where to start their new lives, an area known as “Acona”, a corner of the Crete senesi characterized by impressive and awesome gullies, where, as in the past, peace and tranquillity reign. .

Nowadays the abbey is still inhabited by Benedictine monks. It’s possible to visit the wonderful church, the great cloister with the very famous frescoes depicting the life of Saint Benedict (XVth – XVth century, begun by Luca Signorelli and finished by Antonio Bazzi known as Sodoma); the precious pharmacy, the rich library, the refectory and a suprising small museum; where important works of art are exhibited as some watercolours dated 1700s with views of the Abbey, a canvas donated to the monks by Luigi Mussini, Amos Cassioli’s teacher.

During a few liturgies (Mass, vespers, praises to God) it’s possible to listen to ancient Gregorian chants, traditionally attributed to Pope Saint Gregorius Magnus ( 540-604), still chanted by the monks of Monte Oliveto.


Luciano Francini, Antonio Cinotti, Massimiliano Roncucci, Francesco Giorni



Everyday 9.15 a.m. – 12 a.m. and 3p.m.-5p.m. In summer closing time is at 6p.m.


Monte Oliveto Maggiore,
53041 – Asciano (SI)


Tel. +39 0577 714450
Mobile: +39 348 0847875

“It is something beautiful both for the frescoes in the cloister and the refectory and library, but the best thing is to walk in the woods around with lonely chapels and a silence that makes you appreciate the context of the nature that surrounds you. Stupendous, even in the corner of the memory of the deceased brothers. Stopping means doing good to oneself.”
“After leaving the car at the parking lot, the abbey can be reached on foot along a narrow road in the green. To visit in addition to the church, the beautiful frescoed cloister, the library and the pharmacy with its interesting furnishings. Lying around for lunch, we could also visit the refectory with the tables set. The monks are available and welcoming, the visit is free...”