Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Abbazia Di Sant'Antimo: Chants Encounter

Abbazia Di Sant'Antimo, Italy
It's unknown when exactly the Abbey of Saint Anthimus was established - the earliest written document dates back to 813, but it could have been built long before that. 
We dropped by the abbey to see its rich architecture in the middle of rolling Tuscan hills, complete with iconic pointy cypress trees and vineyards. 
It has been theorised that the remains of Sant'Antimo, as well as those of Saint Sebastian, were presented to the Frankish King Charlemagne, who then gave them to the newly founded abbey in the late eighth century. All of this is, however, unverified. 
According to some tourists I overheard, the Gregorian chanting of the resident monks would begin at half past noon, so we returned to the car and ate lunch with our recently acquired Vino Nobile. 
While waiting for the chanting, bellies full, we explored the grounds and took in the curvy construction accented by designs in marble which reminded me of Celtic knots. In the 1800's, the abbey had fallen into disrepair and was employed for a time as a stable. It has only been reinstated as an abbey again in 1992. 
When the half hour rolled around, we waited with the rest of the visitors, making up nearly full pews. The monks did not have had good timekeeping skills, as they were quarter of an hour late, but eventually they showed and warbled Gregorianly (apparently - I know not a Gregorian from any other kind of chant). As the abbey is near Montalcino, which is where we were heading next, we saw many cyclists gliding around the area (undoubtedly a lovely place to cycle).