From pilgrims home to the production of wine
The widest monastery of the whole Sud-Tyrol, Novacella Abbey lies not far from Bressanone and it is surrounded by woods, meadows and vineyards. Founded in the XII century (1142) by the bishop of Bressanone as a home for pilgrims travelling to Rome trough Brennero valley, it has been enlarged in the following centuries and given to the Augustinian order. Since mediaeval times it has been the most important centre in Sud-Tyrol of learning and culture, known all over Europe. It is still today administrated by the Augustinian Friars.
In the monastery, there are several buildings from different periods and made with different styles; the result is a charming mixture: the tower bell, the walls of the church and S. Michael Archangel’s Chapel are in Romanic style, the church, the vaults, the paintings in the cloister, some portals and some ruins of the walls, the entrance tower are in Gothic style, while the outside decorations of the church and the rich library are in Baroque and Rococo style.
Worth a visit are the great Baroque church dedicated to the Madonna, full of works of art, and the wonderful library, which extends on two stocks where about 65,000 printed volumes apart from the manuscripts divided into 43 subjects are conserved.
The Abbey is not only a cultural centre but also a big wine growing and producing reality in Alto Adige. In fact the great court of the abbey also contains the entrance to the cellars, where wine has been made from local grapes for at least nine centuries. The part open to the public is outside the abbey complex itself next to the great gate, where rooms full of tables are set aside for the wine lover to taste and select his purchases. The abbey produces all the wines included in the DOC Valle Isarco and is particularly famous for its Sylvaner.