We had a great experience with morning. We drove to the old monastery and Abbey of San’ Antimo, south of Montalcino. It was on the old pilgrimage trail in the Middle Ages, the same one as La Foce. It was a beautiful old Abbey that went back to the days of Charlemagne in the 800s. It’s a simple Romanesque cathedral, and the lighting is luminescent, especially with the drifting smoke of frankincense. The whole interior is simple earth tones with a high wooden ceiling. The Mass was in Latin, and the brothers chanted almost the entire service. Sadly, there weren’t as many brothers doing Gregorian chants as I had hoped, but I did think of Dad and how much he loved listening to Gregorian chants. There was also a mixed choir (meaning including a couple of women), and their voices and songs were beautiful, but they hid themselves back behind the altar most of the time. The brothers and priest used tons of frankincense. I’d be surprised if our clothes didn’t smell like it when we walked out. Of all the Masses I’ve been to in Italy, this was the most heavily attended.
My photos today are all screwed up, so I will have to figure out the problem. I think it’s a faulty photo card. I’m beginning with more photos from our fabulous day at Siena yesterday.
Oh, I also forgot to tell you that we visited Riccardo’s Agriturismo on our way to Siena yesterday. We met him at the party at our apartments. His family has lived on the land for 700 years! They even have a family chapel, which houses an 800 year old saint mummy! He also fixed up a beautiful old barn building on the property into a villa for guests with a pool. Family reunion anyone? He even showed us where the brick was smooth on one side because the animals rubbed by it so many times. I’ll start with photos of that, then Siena, then the regrettably streaked photos for today. Actually, I’m not sure what order they’ll be in, but you can figure it out.
Oh, after Mass, we drove into Montelcino and went to the same restaurant we went to in 2010 with Elizabeth and Chuck: La Taverna di Grappolo Blu, which I now know means the blue grape! It was delicious. Jack and I tasted the famous Brunello wine, but we can’t tell the difference between it and the Vino Nobile of Montepulciano: both good, both smooth, both expensive. Then we had coffee at the Florian Bar outside. The bar was built in 1888 and has that 1890s atmosphere. It’s in the main piazza.