Abbazia di Sant'Antimo

Top choice in Val d'Orcia

The serenely beautiful Romanesque Abbazia di Sant’Antimo lies in a valley just below the village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, 11km from Montalcino. The Romanesque exterior of its church features stone carvings of various fantastical animals. Inside, look for the polychrome 13th-century Madonna and Child and 12th-century Crucifixion above the main altar. The church, crypt, upper loggia, chapel, pharmacy and garden can be visited with a rented videoguide (€6), and there is also a dedicated videoguide to the church (€3).

It's a two- to three-hour walk from Montalcino to the abbey. The route starts next to the police station near the main roundabout in town; many visitors choose to walk to the abbey and return by bus (€1.50, 10 minutes, four daily) – check the timetable with the Montalcino tourist office.