Novacella Abbey, still run by the Augustinians, lies few km away from Bressanone/Brixen, surrounded by woods, meadows and vineyards. The building was founded in 1142 by the bishop of Bressanone, the blessed Hartmann, and at the very beginning was thought as a home for wayfarers and pilgrims travelling to Rome or to the Holy Land. Soon this structure became the most important cultural and spiritual centre in Tyrol.
In the monastery, which is the widest in the whole Tyrol, there are several buildings from different periods and made with different styles - from Romanesque to Gothic, from Baroque to Rococo - that overlapped during the centuries and still coexist harmoniously. The current layout of the buildings partly mirrors the original one of the XII century. The first intervention on the original building was made in 1190 when the abbey was almost completely destroyed by a fire. Nowadays there are few elements that can be dated back to the Romanesque period. Among them there is the tower, 40 m tall, Saint Vittore chapel, restored in the XVI century, and the cloister. This latter too has been restored later and embellished with frescoes and Gothic vaults.
The main changes had been made during the Renaissance. Back to this period, indeed, is dated the "well of the wonders", a well located in the big central yard, on which the Seven Wonders of the World (1673) are represented.
In the XVIII century, the cathedral has been projected again in Baroque shapes and more brightness and more magnificence was given to its interiors, according to the principles of the Baroque style.
The monastery library
The Stiftsbibliothek of Novacella is among the most beautiful library halls in the Southern German-speaking area and owns about 98,000 volumes in total, most of which date from before 1900. The library’s greatest treasure is represented by the many medieval manuscripts covering the most varied subject areas. The majority of the handwritten books date back to the fifteenth century. The original collection also includes more than 800 incunabula.
The Abbey can be visited from Monday to Saturday, all year round, excluding Sundays and religious holidays.
The museum, the art gallery and the library can be visited only with the guides. During the guided tours the centuries-old history of the Abbey, the Order of the Regular Canons of St. Augustine, the Basilica, the Gothic cloister, the rich art gallery and the famous library are explained. Also with the guide, it is also possible to visit the historic garden.
Guided tours (min. 10 persons) of the Monastery take place from Monday to Saturday at 10 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. Reservation inquiry at least 7 days before the tour date requested.
Pre-registered groups (of at least 10) 7,00€
Children (6–17) 4,00€
Student groups 4,00€
The abbey offer guided wine tastings for groups of at least ten which include four wines (two red wines and two white wines) and take about an hour. Upon request, the tasting can also be combined with a brief tour of the wine cellar and vineyard.
How to get to Novacella Abbey
Novacella / Neustift is located about ten kilometers from Bressanone / Brixen, in Valle Isarco, surrounded by woods and vineyards. Coming from the A22, take the Bressanone / Val Pusteria exit. After the exit you will see the brown sign indicating the Abbey of Novacella. Turn right towards Vahrn / Varna (3 km). Going down the main road, cross the village and at the Hotel Löwenhof turn left towards Novacella. After about 1 km you will reach the Abbey.
Celebration of prayers
Besides being an important tourist attraction, Novacella Abbey is also an important spiritual and cultural centre. The holy Masses are celebrated both in Italian and in German, according to the following timetable:
- workdays: 7.00 am
- Sundays and holidays: 6.30 am holy Mass | 9.00 am Mass for the parish community | 10.30 am Holy Mass in Italian
For further information
Via Abbazia 1
39040 Varna, Alto Adige
Tel. +39 0472 836 189