The Mysterious Abbey of San Lorenzo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Mysterious Abbey of San Lorenzo

Holidays at a Chianti villa rental would be incomplete without a visit to the Abbey of San Lorenzo. The Abbey is located in Gaiole in Chianti. It was founded in AD 1049 by the Firidolfi family but soon came under the Order of the monks of Vallombrosa who were founded by St. John Gualberto. Over the centuries the Abbey had periods of great expansion and it came to have even more power than the nearby abbey of Ardenga Spineta. In 1810, an announcement from Napoleon decreed the suppression of all religious orders. Consequently, the Abbey was emptied and sold off to individuals who transformed it into a farm. After various changes in ownership the house now belongs to the Stucchi-Pinetti family.

The complex itself consists of the monastery, a church dedicated to San Lorenzo and a garden of great value, enhanced by an impressive 20 metre tall cedar from Lebanon which was added to the list of monumental trees in Tuscany.

So what is so mysterious about this place? Well, inside the Church, under the high altar, are housed the mortal remains of Blessed Benedict Ricasoli, who died January 20th of 1107. The tomb, as you can imagine, very soon became a place of worship where devotees would gather. Not by chance, on the night of January 19th, peculiar and unsettling things started to happen to the Abbey. It was reported that you could hear the distant echoes of Gregorian chants and religious services. The luckiest onlookers swore they saw a group of monks in procession paying homage to the Blessed Benedict.

Who knows what you may encounter when you venture out from your Chianti villa rental to explore this mysterious monastery? Today the abbey has been transformed into a Wine Resort. If you require more information, you can visit the official website:

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