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Novalesa abbey
(Novalesa (TO)- Piemonte)
text by: borgo-italia [only desktop] - photo by: Sandra, Lina, Gianni
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Novalesa abbey
(Novalesa (TO)- Piemonte)

Novalesa abbey was founded in 726 by the Frankish nobleman Abbo.
The Abbey was on the Via Francigena, a major pilgrimage road.
It was endowed by the Frankish kings Charlemagne and Louis the Pious and the 9th century was one of the most prosperous periods also due to the great personality of its abbots.
In 906 Saracen raiders [1] assailed and destroyed the abbey and the monks were forced to flee.
After some decades the abbey was rebuilt and formed with the villages of the CenischiaValley an autonomous diocese that lasted several centuries.
First Napoleon and then in 1855 the Piedmont’s government confiscated the abbey.
The buildings were up for auction and disrupted to be transformed in a health resort.

Finally in 1972 the Province of Turin acquired the abbey and appointed the Benedictines coming from Venice to manage it. So the abbey returned to life.

A prestigious activity is practiced here: the restoration of ancient books and incunabula.
The buildings show the traces of all the past ages. In the church (17th century) are still visible remains of the frescoes of the 11th century.

The four close chapels are particularly interesting; they were used by the enclosed monks to make the prescribed pilgrimage although in a virtual way.
The chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene (8th century with 9th century rebuilding), to Saint Saviour (mid 11th century), to Saint Michael (8th and 9th century) and finally the one dedicated to Saint Eldred e Saint Nicholas with two splendid 11th-century fresco cycles representing the life of the Saints.

to enlarge/close image click on the photo
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Visits to the church, the cloister [2] and Saint Eldred chapel: Saturday and Sunday from 9.00 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.
Guided tours in July and August in the weekdays at 10:30a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (closed on Thursday)
Reservation is mandatory for groups and schools

[1] The legend has it that they were “Saracens”, but more probably they were robbers
[2] the visit to the cloyster depends on the monks willingness.

Info:
www.abbazianovalesa.org

text by: borgo-italia [only desktop]
photo by: Sandra, Lina, Gianni

PIEMONTE 1 - release date: in 2010 or earlier