The Monastery of Santa Maria Alborense is located in a strategic position which allowed it to dominate the coast and view the mouth of the Ombrone River. During medieval times the abbey was dedicated to Saint Benedict, while today it is commonly linked to ‘San Rabano’. In reality, this dedication actually belonged to a small temple near the ‘Strada della Regina’ that was thought to host the saint’s relics. It was connected to the monastery thanks to a Roman road called ‘Aemilia Scauri’ which now runs through the town of Alberese. Historical references mention the monastery as far back as 1101 and it is thought to have been established by the Aldobrandeschi family. In 1208, a member of this clan—the templar Count Idobrandino— mentions the structure in his will.
The abbey belonged to the Dioceses of Sovana, but it was dependent on the Church of San Benedetto di Grosseto and the Church of Montecalvoli, located on the other side of the Ombrone River. Historical documents bear witness to numerous litigations regarding the Church’s properties in this area; in 1121, the abbey was placed under the protection of Pope Callisto II, who threatened the local bishop with canonical punishment if he did not stop putting pressure on the monastery. In one of his letters, the Pope defines the monastery as ‘Beati Petri iuris’. During the crisis that struck the Benedictine system in the XIII century, the area’s monks abandoned the abbey which had become subject to repeated attacks and robberies. Pope Bonifacio VII then transformed the structure in 1307, entrusting it to Clemente V and the knights of the Gerosolimitano Order of Pisa.
During subsequent battles between Grosseto and Siena, the Abati family from Grosseto took hold of the monastery, transforming it into a fortress-of-sorts. In 1333, Siena was able to dominate the area and take control, but the stronghold was soon lost and surrendered to Pisa. In 1378, Pope Urbano VI decided to return the Abbey to the Gerosolimitano order. Nonetheless, Siena continued to exercise control over the structure, dismantling its fortifications. This architectural choice brought about the monastic structure’s decline. In 1474, the Gerosolimitano’s residence was transferred from the monastery to an area that now hosts the town of Alberese. The monastery was completely abandoned in the mid sixteenth century. (Source: the Province of Grosseto)
Grosseto is a beautiful city nearly on the edge of the Tuscan region. It is known as the political and cultural center of the Maremma – Tuscany’s wilder, coastal territory, often overlooked by tourists. It’s an ideal base for exploring the surrounding hilltops and sea sections, and has a family-friendly tranquility, as well as unexpected surprises. ...