Monasteries in Italy

Pulcherada Abbey

The Church of Saint Mary of Pulcherada, most commonly known as Pulcherada Abbey, began to be built between the 6th and 8th century AD on what used to be a Roman encampment. The first section to be built was the apse, and the main building was completed between 1029 and 1031. The bell tower was built within the next 200 years, and was built to be disproportionally taller than the rest of the building, which suggests it mig ...
Founded: 1029-1031 | Location: Turin, Italy

Muri-Gries Abbey

Muri-Gries abbey, first inhabited by Augustinian monks (1406), was pillaged by insurgent peasants in 1525 and was devastated during the Napoleonic wars. Suppressed in 1807 by the Bavarian government, it was given to the Benedictine priests of Muri (Switzerland) by the Austrian emperor in 1845. The oldest part is represented by the castle built in the twelfth century by the counts Morit-Greifenstein, whose keep has now be ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Santo Spirito Abbey

The Abbey of the Santo Spirito (Holy Spirit), built by the Norman Count Ruggero and his wife Queen Adelasia in 1092–1098, was consecrated in 1153. It has been greatly altered in subsequent centuries. The original outlines are still identifiable to the rear, where its characteristic massive jutting apses can be seen. These are separated by flat pilasters and connected by a series of small arches. The left-hand entrance h ...
Founded: 1092-1153 | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Abbey of Fruttuaria

Abbey of Fruttuaria was founded by Guglielmo da Volpiano. The first stone was laid 23 February 1003, consecrated by Ottobiano, bishop of Ivrea, in the presence of Arduin, marchese d"Ivrea and King of Italy, and his consort Berta. The monastery was completed in 1006-1007 and followed the Benedictine rule as reformed at Cluny. There Arduin retired to die (December 1015). In 1027 a bull of Pope John XIX placed the abbey ...
Founded: 1003 | Location: San Benigno Canavese, Italy

Maria Weißenstein Monastery

The beginnings of Maria Weißenstein go back to 1553 when Holy Mary appeared to the miner Leonhard Weißensteiner. He built a chapel which soon became a place of pilgrimage. The first Baroque church was built in 1673 and renotaved 1719-1722. The three towers were demolished in the late 1700s when the monastery was dissolved. The reconstruction began in 1800. In August, 1885, the image of the grieving Madonna, which Le ...
Founded: 1553 | Location: Weissenstein, Italy

Tiglieto Abbey

Tiglieto Abbey, founded in 1120, was the first Cistercian abbey to be founded in Italy, and also the first outside France. It was a daughter house of La Ferté Abbey. The first abbot was probably Opizzone. It may have gained the name Tiglieto after being given the estate of that name by the Margrave Anselm of Ponsone in 1131. In 1442, through Pope Eugenius IV, Tiglieto became an abbey in commendam. In 1648 it was turne ...
Founded: 1120 | Location: Tiglieto, Italy

Santa Maria di Novara Abbey

Santa Maria di Novara Abbey was founded in 1137, at the initiative of the same Ruggero II who appointed Basilian monks. The Cistercian community is abutted on the slopes of the reels in Contrada Sant"Anna with the title of Santa Maria of the Annunciation. The primitive settlement were received only ruins. A place less impervious, on the margins of a water course is identified more downstream, today called Badiavecch ...
Founded: 1137 | Location: Novara di Sicilia, Italy

San Salvatore Monastery

Monastero di San Salvatore is located on the left bank of the Oglio river, in the municipality of Capo di Ponte. Established at the end of the 11th century, it was the first and only Cluniac priory in Val Camonica. The monastery is an important example of Early Medieval religious architecture.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Capo di Ponte, Italy

Abbey of Sant'Albino

The Abbey of Sant"Albino is a church-monastery complex, founded in the 5th century in Mortara.  In 774 the abbot Alkwin Albin added a canonical college to the church, which had become a stopping place for pilgrims traveling south to Rome. The church of Sant"Eusebio had putatively been founded by Charlemagne to bury the soldiers of his army who died locally in a battle on October 12, 773. Among the casualties t ...
Founded: 5th century AD | Location: Mortara, Italy

San Lanfranco Church

San Lanfranco is a Romanesque-style Roman Catholic church and former abbey. A paleochristian church at the site, dedicated to the Holy Sepulcher (Santo Sepolcro) was located near here, and the first documentation of a monastery here date to 1090. The monastery became associated with the Vallumbrosan Order, and hosted the bishop Lanfranco Beccaria, till his death in 1198. Pope Alexander III elevated Lanfranco to saint ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Pavia, Italy

Cerreto Abbey

The Abbazia del Cerreto is a former Cistercian monastery in the town of Abbadia Cerreto. The town is named after the abbey. The building now functions as a parish church. The original monastery, with surrounding territory, was founded by the Benedictine order, but in 1139, the monks at the institution identifed themselves as Cistercians. By 1500, the monastery had been reduced to a few members, and the abbey church was c ...
Founded: 1139 | Location: Abbadia Cerreto, Italy

San Filippo di Fragalà Monastery

The Monastery of San Filippo Fragala, located in the small town of Frazzanò, is one of the oldest basilian monasteries in Sicily. Approximately 2km from the town centre, the monastery was built from the Count Ruggero and his wife Adelasia in 1090 and was an important centre for religious studies on saints. In 1866 the rich library of the monastery was transferred into the town to create an easier access to the books but ...
Founded: 1090 | Location: Frazzanò, Italy

Accola Abbey

Accola Abbey was mentioned first time in 881 AD in a letter of Charlemagne. The altar dates from 1482 and frescoes from the 18th century.
Founded: 881 AD | Location: Borghetto di Vara, Italy

Santa Maria di Corazzo Abbey

The Abbazia di Santa Maria di Corazzo was founded in the 11th century in a valley near the Corace River, today, within the town of Carlopoli. Originally a Benedictine monastery, the Corazzo Abbey was reconstructed by the Cistercians in the 12th century, and shortly thereafter would be where Gioacchino da Fiore became a monk and then, an abbot. There, he began writing La Genealogia (The Genealogy), his first of many ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Carlopoli, Italy

San Giovanni Theristis Abbey

Calabria was part of the Byzantine Empire until the 11th century. A Greek monk, St. John Theristus, operated in the Stilaro Valley during the 9th century. His aghiasma ('holy font') became a popular center of local pilgrimage, and here a Byzantine monastery was founded in the 11th century. After the Norman conquest of southern Italy, it developed as one of the most important Basilian monasteries in souther ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bivongi, Italy

Saint Eufemia Abbey

The abbatial complex of the Saint Eufemia was founded by Robert Guiscard in the second half of the 11th century in the place of an ancient Byzantine monastery. Present archaeological investigations concern the church, with the focus on the area of the great presbytery and the main apse. In this part, 3-4 m deeper than the ground level (that has risen in time due to the frequent floods of the Bagni river) a polychromatic t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lamezia Terme, Italy

San Paolo d'Argon Monastery

The Monastery of San Paolo d"Argon was a Benedictine monastery decorated by premier painters of the late-Baroque era. The monastery was initially founded in the 11th century. It was reconstructed in the 16th century to take on the present layout with two cloisters. The design is attributed to Pietro Isabello. The frescoes (1624) in the refectory were painted by Giovanni Battista Lorenzetti. Starting in 1684, th ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: San Paolo d'Argon, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.