Badia a Passignano - My Trip

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Dear Friends,

I just returned from visiting the wonderful Badia a Passignano, located in the Chianti region. Badia a Passignano is an impressive monastery complex found in the eleventh century, just a short distance from Montefioralle and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

The Abbey belongs to the order of Vallombrosa, a Benedictine congregation. The monks of Vallombrosa live a strict lifestyle dedicated to worship. Their intellectual qualities were distinct and for centuries, they were devoted to study various branches of science, oriental languages, music and literature.

Galileo Galilei is a perfect example. Galileo began his scientific training at a young age in the Abbey of Vallombrosa. He then later returned to visit his past teachers and at the same time to contribute his time in teaching the young monks during the academic year of 1587-8.

Its founder, San Giovanni Gualberto, came from a noble family but would not be more than a monk as he did not want to achieve a prominent place in society.

In 1049, construction of the monastery began. Over time, the neighboring castle and the adjacent buildings became part of the monastery. This huge religious complex is portrayed as a square castle with a tower at each corner.

<strong>RIAPERTA BADIA A PASSIGNANO</strong>The beautiful Abbey has a wide road that is surrounded by cypress trees that leads to the majestic inner courtyard. The lovely courtyard has an open atrium that further leads to the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, built in the thirteenth century which was later restored. The well kept Church has maintained all its medieval features along with its high slender steeple. The interior has a semicircular apse of a dome that was completely frescoed by Antonio Fabbrini and Antonio Donati.

In the sixteenth century, Fray Michele Confetto, a scholar of oriental languages, recorded the wooden choir stalls with inscriptions in Greek and Hebrew.

Furthermore, the Church has retained magnificent works of art, such as the “Trinity” by Lorenzo Lippi located on the high altar. There is also a majestic organ made in the beginning of the 19th century by the Tronci of Pistoia. There are three splendid interior chapels of the church that holds many outstanding works such as “The Conversion of St. Paul” by Cesare Dandini in the 17th century or even the classy marble floor in the “Chapel of the Ten Holy Souls”. The vestry, which in itself is already a work of art, has a portrait of San Giovanni Gualberto, a work done by Raffaellino del Garbo in the 16th century and a terracotta by Della Robbia.

On the opposite side of the church, there is an access road that leads to the monastery. Through the main entrance, visitors will see a square yard that encompasses a medieval appearance with two impressive towers. Personally, this imagery is almost impossible to imagine and this entrance leads you to the Monastery.

The captivating Monastery has a tower constructed from the 15th century with two cloisters: the “Cloister of Mascherone” and “Cloister della Meridiana”.

The main structures of the Monastery are: the enormous library filled with valuable old books, the Chapter House, the large dining hall, and the famous well preserved art collection of the Abbey- “The Last Supper”, a masterpiece by the two brothers, Domenico and Andrea Ghirlandaio, and also the terracotta by Santi Bouillon.

In 1986, after more than 100 years of secularization of the Abbey, the monks of Vallombrosa returned to integrate. Currently, it is a small community composed of about 40 monks.

The Abbey can be visited only on Sundays. After or before visiting, visitors can plan a picnic on the lovely field, or, there is an excellent and unique restaurant that is located very close to the Abbey- the “Osteria di Passignano”.

This lovely restuarant holds the reputation as one of the best restaurants in the Chianti region. The kitchen is of Tuscan tradition but it is meals are prepared creatively with top notch local ingredients. From my personal experience, I started the meal with a mushroom cream cheese which was fine and aromatic. I then proceeded the course with a baked pheasant pechuguitas aderazadas with a Chianti wine sauce which were a true delicacy. All washed down with one of his own red cultivation and production: "Marchesi di Antinori" designation of origin of Chianti Classico. The wine was simply spectacular. To finish the course, I had a delicate and smooth "tiramisu" that was homemade as with all desserts.

What a nice and relaxing day I had, it was much needed.

I hope as always that you find my articles informative and helpful as I try my best to give you ideas of special places to visit for your trip to Tuscany! If you consider this information valuable please click on G + button that you will find at the end of the article so that Google knows that this information is relevant.


Giorgio Toscano

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