The surroundings

Shrine of Saint Michael

The Abbey was born between 983 and 987 to meet with the demands and the culture of pilgrimage. It soon became a spiritual centre and a ver rich cross-road for cultural exchanges.
The XII century was the period of its greatest splendour, it gave hospitality to pilgrims and aristocrats and was a fulcrum of a patrimony that spread all over Europe.

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In the following centuries, the local social status, the Savoy family politics and the economical difficulties conditioned so deeply the monastic life, that Pope Gregory XV had to suspend it in 1622. In 1836 king Carlo Alberto entrusted the Abbe to Antonio Rosmini for him to settle with his religiuos community “The Rosminian Fathers” still take care of the Abbey.
The Shrine of Saint Michael is one of the largest european religious romanesque architectural complexes, the result of construction and enlargements made over a millennium. the three chapels, built in the rocks under the present basilica, show the dawn of the settlement; it is form them that the ancient monastery developed (XI c.). The present three aisles basilica dates to the XII century. It lays on the primitive cells and on the basement built around the Grand Stairway of the Dead. The churc’s western spans and the buildings in the north of the complex date back to the Gothic period. In the following conturies, the Abbey became a military target and was bombed several times, so that it was reduced to ruin. the Shrine is today at the centre of a renewed interest and is undergoing conservative restorations. Thanks to the Regional law n° 68 of 1994, it became “monument symbolising Piedmont”.


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