According to tradition, in 781 Charlemagne was returning from Rome along the Via Francigena, a road which in ancient times served pilgrims traveling from France to Rome. Unfortunately, many of Charlemagne's party were struck by the plague during their travels. Legend has it that Charlemagne was visited by an angel who appeared to him in a dream and recommended a cure for those inflicted with the plague. The Angel gave Charlemagne the recipe for a beverage that contained dried grasses from the area infused with wine. This grass today is known as "Carolina" grass. Charlemagne's party drank the beverage and was cured. In gratitude for the restored health of his party, Charlemagne promised to found an Abbey. Sant' Antimo stands today as evidence of a promise kept.
A former Benedictine monastery, the Abbey is now the home of Canons Regular. The Abbey provides views of a timeless landscape, including fields, vineyards, olive groves and wooded hills. Some of the the best views of the Tuscan countryside are found at Sant' Antimo. Monks celebrate Mass several times daily in Gregorian chant. This is one of the few places in the world where live Gregorian chant may be heard. The interior of the church reflects rich animal and vegetable motifs as well as a magnificent portrayal of Daniel and the Lions.
Not far from the Abbey, the monks run a small store where local products and religious artifacts may be purchased.