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Abby Monte Oliveto Maggiore and Basilica San Miniato

We will be in Florence in April and also in the Pienza/Siena area. So visits to Abby Monte Ol;iveto and/or Basilica San Miniato are possible. They both offer the opportunity to hear Gregorian Chant. But what else does each offer to experience? What was your experience like at these two places? Likes/dislikes? Thank you.

Posted by
174 posts

We visited the Monte Oliveto Maggiori Monastery last June. It is a beautiful place in an idyllic setting. Note that the monks chant during the Vesper service (early evening) so plan accordingly. If you have a car this is the time to use it. We took the train from Siena to Bonconvento assuming we could take a taxi from there only to discover there are no taxis in Bonconvento and no buses go to the Monastery. We managed to find a private individual to drive us to the Monastery but were advised we should have hired a taxi or driver in Siena.

Posted by
14550 posts

San Miniato is a wonderful church; very old and important to the Florentine story.

This is the basilica's website; it's only in Italian but just use an online translation tool:
Current hours are listed as Monday-Saturday 9:30-13:00 and 15:00-19:00, Sunday 8:15-13:00 and 15:00-19:00

Sundays and holidays: 8:30, 10:00, 11:30 and 17:30
The celebration of 17:30 is in Latin and Gregorian chant
Weekdays: 18:00, in Latin and Gregorian chant
Every afternoon at 18:30 the monastic community celebrates the vespers in Latin and Gregorian chant
While it's OK to attend a service, sightseeing the church during them is not allowed.

The monks produce beeswax candles, chocolates, cookies, tarts, herbal skins products and other goodies which are sold at their store (farmacia), which is on your left as you face the front entry outside of the church. The website states. "Our shop is open every day generally from 10.00 until 18.00, with a break from 12.15 until 16.00."

Attached to the church is Cimitero delle Porte Sante with its many interesting monuments; a peaceful ramble before or after visiting the basilica. I believe it's open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and closes early at 1:00 pm on Sundays. No need for a tour; I'll link this site just for some pix and info; google up more images.

And then there's the view from both church and cemetery...... !!!!!!!
All of this is free.