Marienberg Abbey

Mals, Italy

Marienberg Abbey was founded in 1149 or 1150 by Ulrich von Tarasp and other nobles. It has maintained a long tradition of education and, at 1,340 m, it is Europe’s highest abbey. It retains a Baroque style with Romanesque elements, and has some well-maintained frescos.

The history of the foundation goes back to Charlemagne, who established a Benedictine monastery between 780 and 786 near Taufers, a town which on the Vinschgau side of the border with Switzerland. In 1149 or 1150 the community was re-settled on the hill near the village of Burgeis, under the name of Marienberg.

About one hundred years after its foundation the abbey suffered from serious conflict. It was sacked twice by nobles under Abbot Konrad III (1271–98) and in 1304 Abbot Hermann was killed by Ulrich of Matsch. The Black Death killed all but four members of the abbey including Abbot Wyho and Goswin, a lay brother, who later became a priest and chronicled the history of the monastery. This chronicle is divided into three books, the first of which details the story of the foundation and donations to the abbey. The second book of the chronicle is a history of the abbots, and the third recites the privileges conferred by popes and princes. It gives an account, without regard for order or chronology, of the founders, fortunes, benefactors and oppressors of the monastery. Goswin later became a prior of the abbey and court chaplain to Duke Leopold III of Austria. In 1418 Marienberg was burned down and was later rebuilt.

After a period of decline in the 16th century, several German monks helped to restore and expand the abbey. Abbot Mathias Lang (1615–40), from Weingarten Abbey, reformed it, and in 1634 Marienberg joined the Benedictine Congregation of Swabia. Lang's successor, Jacob Grafinger (1640–53), enlarged the library, and made the younger members finish their education at schools of repute. In 1656 the abbey was again burned down. Abbot Johann Baptist Murr (1705–32) in 1724 founded a humanistic high school in Meran which is still administered by the monks of Marienberg. Abbot Placidus Zobel (1782-1815) compiled a chronicle of the abbots.

In 1807 Marienberg was dissolved by the Bavarian government, but was restored by Emperor Francis II in 1816.

Today the monks specialise in adult education: weekend courses and longer retreats are held at the abbey. The abbey itself is available for tours.

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Address

Frazione Slingia 1, Mals, Italy
See all sites in Mals

Details

Founded: 1149
Category: Religious sites in Italy

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Giacomo Frusca (9 months ago)
very nice place with spectacular views, unfortunately the visits are poorly organized and you visit very little
Felix Oduro (14 months ago)
Histolic nice place
Yolanda Kritz (3 years ago)
Very well maintained. I loved the old carriages and the inside of the cathedral was breath taking. One of the monks talked a group through the cathedral. Many French visitors on the day when we visited. The public toilets also very special and clean.
Roberta Camillo (3 years ago)
L'abbazia è davvero maestosa. Da lontano è da sotto la valle si vede in tutta la sua grandezza. Ma anche da vicino è impressionante. Purtroppo nei mesi invernali è aperta solo nei periodi natalizi. Quindi noi abbiamo potuto visitare solo la chiesa. Ma il paesaggio da quassù è davvero bello.
Manuel Moriggl (3 years ago)
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