Monasteries in 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

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

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.