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.