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Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Listed under Monasteries in Tuscany, Italy.

  • Photo of Monte Oliveto Maggiore
  • Photo of Monte Oliveto Maggiore
  • Photo of Monte Oliveto Maggiore
  • Photo of Monte Oliveto Maggiore
  • Photo of Monte Oliveto Maggiore
Photo of Monte Oliveto Maggiore
Photo by flickr user mava
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The Monte Oliveto Maggiore Benedictine Monastery is one of the largest in Tuscany, but it's the colour of it – being sunset coloured bricks against the sandy coloured soil, that makes it so memorable as far as visitors are concerned. You have to cross a drawbridge and under a terracotta archway adorned with a sculpture of a Madonna with Child and Two Angels to get inside, where there's a medieval style palace built of the same red bricks, and a large quadrangular tower. The Great Cloister has vaults underneath it which house an impressive collection of frescoes depicting the life of St. Benedict, and within the main church are frescoes of Jesus Carrying the Cross, Jesus at the Column and St. Benedict Giving Rule to the Founders of Monte Oliveto, all by Sodoma – these are all very famous works.

You might be able to guess that the name comes from it being built on top of a mount of olive groves, while also referring to Christ's Passion. Construction of the monastery begun in 1320, but the religious founding of the site took place seven years earlier.

Written by  AndyinItaly.

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