Neustift Abbey is one of the most prestigious monasteries of northern Italy and Alpine region. It was founded in 1142 by the Bishop of Brixen. Buildings have been rebuilt and expanded several times until the 18th century. Neustift Abbey was dissolved by the Bavarian government in 1807. Today it is a convention center and ecological center.
The abbey, since its establishment, has been a place of shelter for pilgrims coming from Northern Europe and headed to Rome and the Holy Land.
Today you can visit the large Baroque church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which is full artworks halls. The historic garden is open to the public. The fortified complex, which is accessed via a small covered bridge, consists of several buildings from different periods and styles.
The important library occupies two floors of the monastery, which houses about 65,000 printed volumes, especially scientific works and manuscripts. The main room of the library, a masterpiece of Rococo style, has been designed by Antonio Giuseppe Sartori in 1773.
The monastery wine cellars are also located here, where the superb wines from the Neustift estate vineyards can be savoured together with a typical South Tyrolean platter of cold cuts and cheese.
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.