When you visit these Italian monasteries, you can eat as monks have eaten for centuries.
5. Abbey of St. Mary of Monte Oliveto, Siena, Tuscany
Just a few miles from Siena lies the picturesque Abbey of St. Mary of Mount Oliveto, founded by Benedictine monks in 1300. St. Benedict was in fact very devoted to the Blessed Mother and devised white tunics for Monte Oliveto monks in her honor. He was also known for promoting manual labor, including agriculture, as a way to fortify the soul and express gratitude for the gifts of God. That’s why local monks have long been engaged in a vast array of agricultural activities from winemaking to olive milling and truffle hunting. Visitors to the majestic complex can enjoy a full meal made entirely with monastery-grown foods while admiring the vaulted roof and 17th-century frescoes that adorn its refectory. One of the most beloved monastic recipes is called “Flower of Monte Oliveto,” an herbal liquor prepared with more than 23 local herbs according to a recipe that has been passed from the monastery’s founding fathers.
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