The Novacella Abbey, located near Varna, is the largest convent complex in the whole of Tyrol and one of the most prestigious in northern Italy. Largely open to the public, today it has among its activities the production and sale of excellent wines, worthy of the best South Tyrolean wine making tradition.
Abbazia di Novacella History
The Novacella convent was founded in 1142 by the bishop of Bressanone Artmanno a few kilometers from the bishop's residence. Supported in this work by the Burgrave of Sebato Reginbert and his wife Christina, the abbey was endowed with vast landed and rights properties.
The choice of the site was obviously not random: placed on the crossroads of the important north-south communication route through the Alps and east-west, leaving the Val Pusteria, the abbey was far enough away from the confusion and noise of the centers inhabited and on the other it was an ideal place to offer shelter to pilgrims, travelers, the sick and the poor according to the canons of Augustinian hospitality. The abbey school, the place of pilgrimage and the hospice have therefore soon transformed the abbey of Novacella into a landmark of the European spiritual panorama.
Among the various buildings that make up the complex, the important library on two floors contains about 65,000 volumes, especially theological and scientific works, manuscripts and illuminated codes. Its main hall was created by Antonio Giuseppe Sartori and represents a jewel of the South Tyrolean rococo.
Another interesting building is the chapel of San Michele, called "Castello dell'Angelo", a well-preserved Romanesque roundabout, whose structure is presumed to remember the almost homonymous Roman monument.
The convent cellar, with over 850 years of experience and the precious vineyards it is surrounded by, is nowadays particularly renowned for the white wines typical of the Isarco Valley region, such as Müller Thurgau, Sylvaner, aromatic Traminer, Veltliner and the Kerner. The wines of the abbey, along with grappa, juices, herbal teas and many other food and wine products from more than 50 European abbeys, can be purchased by visitors in the Enoteca dell'abbazia, located at the entrance of the historic complex.