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Over twenty-four Tuscany monasteries are open to all guests… including breakfast they average $35.00/Nite

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Tuscany's monasteries welcome visitors without any religious obligation.

In addition to the well-known cities of Florence, Pisa, Siena and Cortona, there are dozens upon dozens of intriguing villages and hamlets that bring you in touch with Italian culture, art, history, architecture, food and people. From forests, to mountaintops, to great cities and small hamlets, there are dozens of monasteries to choose from in the beautiful region of Tuscany. Intriguing places that bring you in touch with Italian culture, art, history, architecture, food, wine and the Italian locals.

Mount Amiata is a holiday resort region offering hiking, horseback riding and cultural entertainment in the summer, skiing in the winter. Nearby Abbadia San Salvatore resides in a boulder-strewn setting. Gothic and Renaissance style buildings of dark gray stone enrich the distinctive medieval ambience of the old town.

There are dozens of choices throughout Tuscany.

In an unusual landscape of clay and limestone hillsides, 14th century Sienese walls still surround part of the small medieval town of Asciano. Elegant cypress trees and farmhouses add a quaint touch to the setting. The town’s Museo Etrusco shelters collections accumulated from Etruscan tombs unearthed in the area.

Another monastery is in a small town in the heart of the Casentino region. A milieu of mystical beauty, of mountains bathed in a palette of soft pastels, the region is home to one of Italy’s wildest primeval forests, the Forest Casentinesi. The dense woodland harbors towering silver fir, centuries-old beech, mountain maple and European aspen.

Monasteries can be found in coastal locations, hilltop villages and major cities like Florence.

A nearby castle is one of the most famous in Casentino and was mentioned by Dante in his writing. It is an esteemed example of sacred medieval architecture. The hill town of Poppi is home to the 13th century Castello dei Conti Guidi, seat of the Guidi counts who ruled the Casentino until the middle of the 15th century. The castle is a massive structure and one of Tuscany’s best preserved buildings. It is accented by a boldly conceived staircase and spacious main chamber. The frescoed chapel (Taddeo Gaddi) adds a note of distinction to the second floor. The library shelters priceless incunabula and manuscripts.

For more information click here: Monasteries of Italy

Visit Umbria, Tuscany’s unspoiled sister. It’s filled with hilltop towns and dotted with monasteries that welcome all for about $25 per night.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Umbrian monasteries welcome all without any religious obligations. Rates at Umbrian monasteries range from a voluntary donation to about $25 a nite per person.

Spello is a unique town built in the typical colors of the Umbria stone. Although best known for his work in the Borgia Apartment in the Vatican Museum, some of Pinturicchio’s finest frescoes can be admired in the Baglioni Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. The chapel’s beautiful tile floor is majolica by Deruta.

Once an important municipality on the Via Flaminia, tiny Bevagna has preserved several buildings, fortifications and artistic treasures from its days as an ancient Roman staging post. A delightful hill town of steep, narrow, cobbled streets and ancient walls, two-well preserved Augustan gates attest to the town’s past. Outstanding mosaics can be seen at the site of the former hot baths. The 12th century Romanesque church of San Michele is enhanced with a lovely facade containing gargoyles on either side of the portal. Another Romanesque church, the dark and mysterious San Silverstro, contains a memorial stone at the entrance signed and dated (1195) by the Maestro Binello.

Perched on the slopes of Mount Ingino, Gubbio is a medieval jewel whose gray stone buildings appear to be marching up the impossibly steep and heavily wooded slopes. The ancient byways and twisting streets are lined with terracotta tiled houses. Unexpected views of the verdant valley and snow-capped Apennines surprise at every turn.

For more information go to monasteriesofitaly.com