The origins of this church are shrouded in legend. The Abbey, a jewel of medieval mysticism, is situated 9 km from Montalcino, in the valley of the Starcia torrent (that flows from the Orcia River), near the town of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. It is one of the most beautiful monuments in an ancient Roman style, which also has elements of the French and Lombardy styles.
According to ancient legend, the abbey was founded by Carlo Magno, who, returning from Rome with his followers along the Via Francigena
, he stopped to rest and escape the plague in the Starcia valley
. The Emperor stayed there until the threat of plague was over, and to give thanks, he founded the Abbey of St. Antimo.
It is impossible to reconstruct the entire history of the abbey because many documents and other papers were destroyed in a fire. Visitors can see the original structure, which dates back to the Carolingian era
, in the apsidal area of the monumental temple. This is where you can admire the small apses of the ancient church, which is the sacristy today that was frescoed by Giovanni D’Asciano in the 14th century, and the small crypt, which is divided into three naves of four columns each. The church dates back to 1118, as evidenced by an inscription above the central altar. The abbey’s decline culminated in 1462, when Pope Pio II suppressed and incorporated it into the dioceses of Montalcino