Astino Abbey was founded around 1070 by a group of members of the Vallumbrosan Order led by John Gualbert during a time in which, through reforms, clerics were trying to revive the Catholic Church's position.
The Romanesque church and the first conventual buildings were built by Bertario, the first abbot, who supervised the abbey for 21 years until 1128.
The monastery was suppressed on 4 July 1797 by the ciil aurhorities of Bergamo. Its assets were given to the nearby hospital, founded and previously run by the monks.
In 1832 the site was put to use as a psychiatric hospital, which it remained until 1892. It was then used for agricultural purposes, and was sold to private buyers in 1923.
In 1973 the property was acquired by a private company for conversion into a golfing centre, but the plan ran into so much opposition that it never came to fruition, and the monastery buildings have been left neglected until 2015.
The Church of Santo Sepulchro was consecrated in 1117, but has been rebuilt over the centuries. The base of the bell-tower dates to the 12th-century, but now has a baroque superstructure atop. The building includes a cloister of the 15th century and a chapel to the memory of Blessed Guallo de Roniis, exiled bishop of Brescia.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.