Badia a Passignano

The Abbey of Badia a Passignano is a hidden gem in the heart of Chianti

Hidden in the Chianti hills, Badia a Passignano is steeped in art and history. Its origins, characterized by spirituality and mystery, have their roots in the 11th century and are intertwined with the lives of hundreds of monks who have prayed and worked here for centuries. The traces of their daily life are still visible today in various points of the building, such as in the kitchen or in the refectory.

Understanding the history of Tuscany through the complex events that involved the abbey is a truly fascinating experience

Around year 1500, the monks began to devote themselves to the study and teaching of Greek and Hebrew in order to study the sacred scriptures. Even the study of mathematics became important, Galileo Galilei was even hired as a teacher.

In 1870 the Italian State sold at auction the abbey which was bought by a wealthy Polish family to make it a castle.

Badia a Passignano - is this a castle?

The multiple external and internal transformations are still visible. Frescoes with the faces of saints with a wise and compassionate face, in delicate pastel colors, alternate with paintings of dragons, coats of arms of ancient families and fascinating geometric designs commissioned by the Polish count to adorn the luxurious mansion. This time the colors are intense and powerful. In few steps, by changing room, we can see and understand both “souls” (that of the castle and that of the monastery) that coexist and make us participants in this fascinating history.

In 1986 the Vallombrosana congregation fortunately regained possession of the monastery, starting a series of important and loving restorations, both to the structure of the building and to the precious frescos like the famous Last Supper by Domenico Ghirlandaio.

With some limitations, it is possible to visit the Abbey.

The first time I visited this suggestive place it was a winter day, cold and gray. The atmosphere immediately made me think of the scenarios described by Umberto Eco in “The Name of the Rose”, in which Friar William of Baskerville was engaged in investigations relating to a suspicious death.

Badia a Passignano - Ghirlandaio's fresco

During the tour, you can visit the chapel, the cloister, the refectory, the kitchen and the Italian garden.

In particular, in the refectory of the monastery, there is the fresco of the Last Supper: a 15th century work by Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio. Stopping in front of the precious painting and letting yourself be enchanted by the thousand details and legends concerning it embellishes the visit.

The abbey is located on top of a hill and is surrounded by cypresses.

All around, the hills are gentle and full of vineyards. The landscape surrounding the abbey is also worth a visit.

Badia a Passignano - biking on the strade bianche

Definitely off the beaten track, the best way to reach Badia a Passignano is to walk slowly along the beautiful white roads that wind through the rolling hills of Chianti. Completely immersed in nature, these roads offer many panoramic points; a stop to admire the beauty of the landscape and take a photo is a must.

For a beautiful day outdoors, you can get to Badia a Passignano with an excursion on foot or by e-bike. By e-bike the best way is to start from nearby Greve in Chianti. The road that connects Greve in Chianti to Badia a Passignano is delicious and full of scents.

Click here to see a proposal for an e-bike tour tour in Chianti with a visit to the abbey.

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