Badia di Coltibuono
Badia a Coltibuono: a convent trasformed into farmhouse
The Vallombrosan abbey of San Lorenzo a Coltibuono was founded around the year one thousand, it lived its maximum moment of flowering between the eleventh and twelfth centuries: but already in the following century began the decline.
Despite this in the fifteenth century Coltibuono had a further development under the patronage of Lorenzo de ‘Medici. The Badia remained property of the Benedictine monks of Vallombrosani until 1810. In 1810, under Napoleonic rule, the monks were forced to leave Coltibuono, and the structure was transformed into a farm-villa, while retaining the original function of agricultural garrison.
The church of the Abbey is of Romanesque forms and presents the typical architectural scheme of the Vallombrosani. On the left side is the massive crenellated bell tower, whose construction was begun in 1160. Internally, the church shows a fresco decoration, paintings and stuccos of late Baroque taste.
Interesting is the Italian garden, with flower beds arranged geometrically formed by box hedges and aromatic and medicinal plants. At the center of the garden is a rectangular stone basin. The great forests of white firs, which surround the abbey, are the result of the reforestation work of the monks. Next to the Abbey it is possible to admire a cedar of Lebanon with imposing dimensions (20 meters high and about 7 meters in diameter of the trunk circumference), which is included in the list of monumental plants of the Tuscany Region.
To reach the Badia a Coltibuono, from Florence take the A1 motorway heading south. At the Valdarno exit take the ss408 towards Siena for about 16 km until the junction, on the right, to Badia a Coltibuono. From Siena take the SS408 towards Gaiole in Chianti – Montevarchi; 6 km after Gaiole, turn left at the fork to get to the Badia.