10 Amazing Monasteries To Visit In Italy

monasteries in italy
| 4 min read

Italy is a place with a long and rich history, with several monasteries and abbeys with interesting legends and historical background. It is highly recommended that guests opt for a guided tour if possible as you get to learn the historical significance of the architecture and monuments in these monasteries. In some areas, there are even museums with interesting relics dating back to the 1000s which have lots of stories to tell. Several of the monasteries also have cafes and gift shops where you can take a break or get a souvenir to remember this trip by. Read on to find out about the amazing monasteries to visit in Italy.

1. Abbazia di Fossanova

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pippo-b used under CC BY 3.0

Abbazia di Fossanova is a monastery situated in the province of Latina. It follows the Burgundian Early Gothic style in Italy, which originated from around 1135. What is interesting is that this was the monastery visited by St Thomas and you would even see the hoof prints left by his donkey on one of the corners. Though part of it has been reconstructed, you would be able to see the original flooring and architecture under a glass floor which has been preserved.

Abbazia di Fossanova

Address: Via San Tommaso D'Aquino, 1, 04015 Priverno LT, Italy

Website: Abbazia di Fossanova

Opening hours: 8am - 6:30pm (daily)

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2. Florence Charterhouse

Galluzzo, Certosa di Firenze 001
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mattana used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Florence Charterhouse is located on a hill in Galluzzo, central Italy. It used to house one of the most influential religious figures and was a very powerful monastery in Europe. This was built by Niccolò Acciaioli in 1341 which was used as a center for monks as well as a school for young people. What is interesting is that the ceiling has strategically placed holes near the altar played to amplify the monks’ voices. This is also a good place to visit due to its serenity away from the populated tourist areas.

Florence Charterhouse

Address: Via del Ponte di Certosa, 1, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy

Website: Florence Charterhouse

Price: 5 USD

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3. Staffarda Abbey

Revello, Abbazia di Santa Maria di Staffarda - Cloister 001
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mattis used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Staffarda Abbey is a cistercian monastery situated near Saluzzo and was founded by the Marquis of Saluzzo, Manfred I in 1135. Having reclaimed the land, the cistercian monks built several buildings including a church and market, which are still intact today except for a few touch ups. Due to these touch ups, you would notice a mix of Roman and Gothic elements in the architecture. This monastery also houses a historical art collection.

Staffarda Abbey

Address: Piazza Roma, 2, 12036 Staffarda CN, Italy

Website: Staffarda Abbey

Opening hours: Tues - Sun: 9am - 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 5pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 7 USD

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4. Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Posted by Abbazia di Sant'Antimo on Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Abbey of Sant'Antimo was a Benedictine monastery situated in Montalcino, Tuscany. It stands alone in a field of olive groves and green hills, which makes this monastery all the more peaceful. Legend has it that it was founded by Charles the Great where the church was built in gratitude after an angel appeared and told him to make his army a drink which cured his entire army. Learn more about the history and architecture of the church through their video guide.

Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Address: Localita’ S. Antimo, 222, 53024 Castelnuovo dell'Abate SI, Italy

Website: Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (Daily)

Price: 3 USD

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5. Certosa of Saint Lawrence

Certosa of Saint Lawrence
Source: Pixabay

Certosa of Saint Lawrence is one of the most beautiful monasteries situated in Salerno and has been recognized as a UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1998. Its architectural style is largely Baroque and holds an extensive amount of Italian heritage. This monastery comprises of three cloisters, a garden, a courtyard and a church. Its structure follows the Carthusian rule that clearly separates work and contemplation. Due to its beauty, this has also been used as a movie set several times.

Certosa of Saint Lawrence

Address: Viale Certosa, 84034 Padula SA, Italy

Website: Certosa of Saint Lawrence

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 9am - 7pm (closed on Tues)

Price: 11 USD

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6. Territorial Abbey of Nonantola

Abbazia di nonantola 00
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user sailko used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Territorial Abbey of Nonantola is a monastery situated in Nonantola which was a Benedictine monastery dedicated to Saint Sylvester. Today, the church remains as a basilica which is the concathedral church of the Archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola. The interior was built to be elegant and majestic and remains to be so after the reconstruction in 2012 needed due to the earthquake. It also contains several relics and manuscripts from the past which are interesting to look at.

Territorial Abbey of Nonantola

Address: Piazza Abbazia, 1, 41015 Nonantola MO, Italy

Website: Territorial Abbey of Nonantola

Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm (daily)

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7. Novalesa Abbey

Abbazia di Novalesa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cruccone used under CC BY 3.0

Novalesa Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in 726 and is one of the most historic landmarks in Turin, Piedmont, Italy. It was dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Andrew. Today, the abbey has been reconstructed and is maintained by a few monks. There is a small gift shop where you can get small crafts to keep as souvenirs too. The visit and guided tour is free, though guests will be asked if they want to make any donations afterwards. Guides are also done by volunteers who are extremely passionate about the history of Novalesa Abbey.

Novalesa Abbey

Address: Frazione S. Pietro, 4, 10050 San Pietro TO, Italy

Website: Novalesa Abbey

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 9am - 11:30pm (closed on Weekdays)

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8. Pomposa Abbey

abbazia di pomposa
Source: Photo by Flickr user mararie used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Pomposa Abbey is one of the grandest and most majestic monasteries situated at Codigoro near Ferrara, Italy. You would definitely be able to spot it from a distance as its lighthouse like structure towers over the surrounding areas. It is best known for being one of the most extensive libraries and for preserving Carolingian manuscripts. This was also the place which gave rise to modern musical notation where Guido, an 11th-century Benedictine monk and Italian music theorist, came up with a system that used lines, clef signs, and colors as a way of storing music information in a book which helped them to better remember their lines. The abbey closed after the monks left in the 1650s due to poverty and malaria. In its place now is a small museum.

Pomposa Abbey

Address: Via Pomposa Centro, 12, 44021 Codigoro FE, Italy

Website: Pomposa Abbey

Opening hours: 8:30am - 6:45pm (daily)

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9. Bobbio Abbey

Bobbio-abbazia di san colombano-esterno
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Davide Papalini used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bobbio Abbey was founded in 614 by Irish Saint Columbanus, and hosted the famous medieval scriptorium, or copying library, making it the most powerful cultural center of northern Italy in the 10th and 11th century. In 1803, the monastery closed down due to the French revolution and it now houses the Museum of the Abbey and the City Museum. The museum collects art and objects of Roman, Medieval and Renaissance periods and was also refurbished.

Bobbio Abbey

Address: Piazza S. Colombano, 29022 Bobbio PC, Italy

Website: Bobbio Abbey

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

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10. Hermitage of Camaldoli

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Baku used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Hermitage of Camaldoli is a monastery situated in Camaldoli, in the heart of the park at Foreste Casentinesi. It was founded over a thousand years ago by San Romualdo. The peace and tranquility surrounding the monastery definitely adds to the restful and calming atmosphere. The location of the monastery represents two very important dimensions of the monastic experience - solitude and communion. What is amazing about this place is that it is still in use up till today and The Foresteria continues to offer spiritual and cultural deepening.

Hermitage of Camaldoli

Address: Località Camaldoli, 14, 52014 Camaldoli AR, Italy

Website: Hermitage of Camaldoli

Opening hours: 8:30am - 8pm (daily)

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More than architecture...

Whether you’re someone religious looking for a different and unique spiritual experience, or whether you’re just looking to admire the architecture and rich historical meanings of each monastery, we highly recommend that you visit at least one of these monasteries, even if it is just for a short 20 minutes! Each of these landmarks have such a rich and interesting history that has contributed to the city it is founded in, in one way or another.

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Faith embarked on a transformative odyssey as a freelance writer and avid traveler. Her wanderlust ignited during a memorable exchange program in Lund, Sweden, where creativity and the passion for...Read more

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