Abbey of Fruttuaria

San Benigno Canavese, Italy

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 and all its lands under direct papal supervision. The Empress Agnes was a patron of Fruttuaria, and retired there in 1065 before moving to Rome. The Empress was instrumental in introducing Fruttuaria's Benedictine customs, as practiced at Cluny, to Saint Blaise Abbey in Baden-Württemberg.

The greatest splendor of the abbey of Fruttuaria was in the 12th and 13th centuries when it minted its own coin. In 1265 the abbey possessed eighty-five churches in Italy alone, as well as four comunes, the quattro terre abbaziali of San Benigno Canavese, Montanaro, Lombardore and Foglizzo. Other possessions lay in France and Austria. Some 1,200 monks inhabited the monastery.

In the 14th century, decline set in, culminating in 1477 when the monks lost their privilege of naming the abbot. Nominating an absentee abbot in commendam and a vicar to represent him at the site was thenceforth a papal perquisite. In 1585 Pope Sixtus V suppressed the monastery, substituting in its buildings a college of secular priests. The last monk died in 1634.

In 1710 troops of Victor Amadeus II, duke of Savoy, occupied the terre abbaziali, an occupation that lasted until 1741 and only ended with papal renunciation of all territorial control.

In 1749, a new abbot held Fruttuaria in commendam, Carlo Vittorio Amedeo delle Lanze, who in 1770 razed the remains of the Romanesque church and monastery, save the campanile, and erected a new church in their stead, to Late Baroque classicizing designs by Bernardo Antonio Vittone and Mario Quarini.

In 1979, work involved in installing heating brought to light an 11th-century mosaic representing two griffons. Excavations have revealed the foundations of the Romanesque church. Restorations were concluded in May 2004.



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Founded: 1003
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Vanejita_ SL (2 years ago)
Excellent. It is a church built on an old Roman monastery. You can see the remains of it and much more. The people who make the guides are very friendly and predisposed. I congratulate you!!! highly recommended
Nadia Rigamonti (2 years ago)
Very beautiful and really interesting abbey. Inside, through an underground archaeological path, you can see the remains of a previous older church and its mosaic floors. The guides are very competent and prepared, the visit was very interesting.
Dr Curiosity (2 years ago)
It is a real forgotten jewel of the history of Italian art and culture. Let's start by saying that inside there are the remains of Arduino of Ivrea, the first king of Italy. We continue with a visit to the church of 1066, a real jewel found in which to admire the splendid remains of Byzantine-style mosaics. Then ending with the neoclassical-baroque church built at the end of the 18th century by Cardinal Carlo Vittorio Amedeo delle Lanze. Finally, a commendation to the highly trained volunteer guides.
Luna Ippoliti (5 years ago)
Very interesting abbey, it has very important remains that can be traced back to the Ottonian nucleus wanted by Guglielmo da Volpiano. The bell tower is also of value, with pictorial fragments relating to frescoes dating back to the early 11th century. Guided tours are possible on the first and third Sunday of the month, from 15:00 to 17:00, and the staff who coordinates them are very helpful and prepared. Definitely worth a visit.
Marie Selea (5 years ago)
Fruttuaria is an abbey founded shortly after the year 1000, in the territory of San Benigno Canavese, by Guglielmo da Volpiano. The first stone was laid on February 23, 1003. Founder and first abbot was Guglielmo da Volpiano. Fruttuaria was completed in 1006-1007. In 1027 Giovanni XIX, with a papal bull, placed the abbey and all its assets under the direct control of Rome. The decline began in the 14th century and reached its peak in 1477 when the monks lost the privilege of appointing the abbot, who was replaced by a papal-nominated Commendatory Abbot (not resident in the abbey). From that moment on Fruttuaria was directed by a vicar. In 1585 Pope Sixtus V decreed the suppression of the monastery, replaced by a collegiate church of secular priests. In 1710 Vittorio Amedeo II, Duke of Savoy, militarily occupied the "abbey lands", an occupation that ended in 1741 with the papal renunciation of control over those lands. In 1749 Cardinal Carlo Vittorio Amedeo Delle Lanze becomes commendatory abbot who intends to restore Fruttuaria to its former glory by making it a small Rome. In 1770 he then demolished what remained of the Romanesque church and monastery (the only one to be saved is the bell tower) to build (1770-1776) a new church, whose internal structure would like to remind St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The project is entrusted to the architects Vittone and Quarini, who carry out the new building in the last phase of Baroque classicism. The series of abbots will end in 1848. The church will become a normal parish of the diocese of Ivrea and the abbey building will be entrusted in 1879 to Don Bosco and his Salesians. Since 1952 the parish priest of San Benigno has regained the privilege of the title of abbot from the pope.
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