In the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, 1000 meters high, surrounded by a forest of centuries-old trees, stands the Abbey built in 1028 by San Giovanni Gualberto, who founded the Benedictine Congregation of Vallombrosa, recognized in 1055 by Pope Victor II. The complex of the current buildings was built between 1450 and 1470; then in 1529 it was seriously damaged by the passage of the army of Charles V and, restored in the seventeenth century, assumed the characteristics of a castle. For many centuries a center of spiritual research, it was enriched over time thanks to numerous donations from wealthy families in the area. In the Napoleonic period following a decree that established the suppression of all religious congregations, issued by the French government, the monks had to abandon the abbey. The Monastery was restored in 1815 and in 1869, under the King Vittorio Emanuele II, it became the headquarters of the Italian Forestry Institute. After returning to the Monks, in 1949 began a complex restoration by the Benedictine religious, combined with the restoration of traditional practices that had always characterized the daily life of the Monastery. Famous for the homemade production of honey, chocolate, herbal preparations for face and body care, liqueurs and bitter distillates of many herbs, the Abbey is especially renowned for the Dry Gin of Vallombrosa, solely based on a wild variety of juniper berries growing on the hills between Sansepolcro and Pieve Santo Stefano, in the province of Aretina, discovered during the years in which the Monks carried out forest restoration activities for the Forestry. The high aromatic concentration found in this plant guarantees its use in mono-varietal distillation with excellent results, to the point that some Anglo-Saxon breeders have selected some samples to produce the Gin Single Estate products with the 'cold compound' technique.