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san antimo

The ancient Romanesque church is situated in a beautiful secluded valley in Tuscany.

I visited here last summer while on a private pilgrimage to Italy. Ever since I had seen this church and been inspired by it to build our new church of Our Lady of the Rosary it had been a dream of mine to make it to San Antimo.

It was a Benedictine monastery in the 12th century, but its power didn’t last very long. That is why the church is in such an unspoiled example of Romanesque architecture. It was pretty much abandoned by 1300. In the 1870s the Italian state paid for its restoration. In 1992 monastic life was restored with the arrival of  Premonstratensian monks (Norbertines)

At the time of our visit there were about eight monks. We were able to stay in the nearby hilltop town in the monastic guest house. The monks sang the offices and celebrated Mass in the Novus Ordo, with Gregorian chant and mostly in Latin and with great solemnity and beauty.

I wish I could have stayed for a week on retreat. Sadly, the Norbertines are about to abandon the location due to lack of numbers. Pray that the bishop will find a new community to take charge of this beautiful monastic heritage site.

Here is the interior after morning Mass. They used lots of incense and the morning light through the smoke created this great picture.

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