History

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History

Founded at the beginning of the XIVth century by Giovanni Tolomei, a nobleman of Siena. The great monastic complex of Monte Oliveto Maggiore extends along the ridge of a hill in the heart of the “crete senesi”; it has been described as a “city in the form of a monastery” because of the spaciousness of the buildings which compose it. Over the last few centuries the labor of the monks and lay workers has profoundly changed the surrounding landscape which was originally uninhabited and wild. Today a very beautiful countryside encircles the monastery as cultivated fields, vineyards, olive groves and the origins of the farm of Monte Oliveto Maggiore can be traced back to the founder Saint Bernard Tolomei for he himself placed at the disposition, on the 26th of March 1319, as a dowry for the foundation of the new monastery, the lands belonging to him in the territory of Accona, as well as those of his companions, Patrizio Patrizi and Melanino. In successive decades, thanks to donations and the dowries of the newly entered, there came to be sufficient assets for the life, development and spread of the young institution. Throughout the centuries there were further donations and acquisitions so that by 1850 the number of farms had reached 27, all run by families of sharecroppers. With effect of the law L.n. 3036 of 7th July 1866, and of L.n. 3848 of 15th August 1867 that sanctioned the suppression of Religious Orders, all the properties of the Abbey were confiscated. In the following years these were auctioned and only in part were they reacquired by the monks through a company that they formed. This is how the dimensions and typology of the lands and estate of the farm were defined and have been conserved until today: 850 hectares of property, of which half are woods, fields and uncultivated lands (badlands) and the other half are arable lands, olive groves, vineyards and buildings.