Monasteries in 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

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.