Abbazia della Novalesa, Novalesa

#20 of 233 in Historic Sites in Province of Turin
Religious Site · Tourist Spot
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  • Nice spot to have a walk around and enjoy a coffee in the heavenly garden just in front.
  • The abbey of Saints Peter and Andrew, also known as the abbey of (or della) Novalesa, is an ancient Benedictine abbey founded in the eighth century and located in the municipality of Novalesa, in the Susa valley. Since 1972 the abbey complex has been publicly owned, having been purchased by the Province of Turin, now the Metropolitan City of Turin, which has given it back to the Benedictine monks. The agreement with the Sublacense Benedictine Congregation allowed to enhance the historical and artistic importance of the monument and to spread the knowledge of the ancient spiritual, cultural and social tradition of the Benedictine abbey. One of the chapels of the complex houses two important cycles of frescoes of the eleventh century, dedicated, one to the owner Sant'Eldrado and the other, among the first known in the West, to San Nicola di Bari. The history of the Novalesa abbey began on January 30, 726, by means of the foundation deed due to the then Frankish lord of Susa and Moriana, Abbone, who controlled the Mont Cenis pass. In this period the monasteries had in fact a precise strategic value and the Franks in particular not only considered them their sphere of influence, but used them as starting points for their raids against enemy populations. According to the scholar Laurent Ripart, if other important monasteries had been built in the Alps along the crossing routes, mostly in an easy position near the valley outlets, instead the Novalesa had a pioneering character, being the first of its kind to be founded internally in the Alps, on the edge of the human population area and with an exclusively Alpine reference area. The foundation deed of the Abbey, dated 726 and probably already transferred in the 10th century following the temporary abandonment of the abbey, is the oldest document in the Turin State Archives, and was followed by the preserved Testament of Abbone copied in Grenoble. Very important is also the Chronicon Novalicense, a manuscript of the 11th century which brings together true and legendary news with a political purpose of consolidating the prestige of the Abbey after the abandonment of the 10th century and the return in the 11th century. A dispute emerges from the text, never enunciated but evident with the nascent arduinic foundation of the Abbey of San Giusto in the nearby city of Susa, for the control of the territory of the middle Susa Valley. Following the suppression of 1851, the library and manuscripts were relocated. In particular, the most ancient documents merged into the Turin State Archives, forming a very important corpus. It is really advisable, there is unique documentation.

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