The monastery of Novacella flourished culturally for the first time under the provost Konrad II of Rodank (1178-1200) just forty years after its foundation. After a devastating fire on 17th April 1190 Konrad, who was well-schooled in art and science, rebuilt the entire monastery complex so quickly that the collegiate church could be re-consecrated as early as 1198.
In 1221 Neustift was granted rights of patronage over the parish of Olang in the Pustertal valley, followed by the incorporation of the parish of Völs am Schlern in 1257 and the parish of Assling, near Lienz in East Tyrol, in 1261.
The 15th and early 16th centuries were Novacella’s heyday, revealed in the magnificent altars produced for the collegiate church during this period, as well as the impressive late Gothic hall choir which embellished the church with its characteristic steep, towering roof. Celebrated artists including the Master of Uttenheim, Michael and Friedrich Pacher, Max Reichlich and others worked for the Canons Regular who themselves maintained a prolific scriptorium, especially under Friedrich Zollner and Stephan Stettner. Choral singing during the Liturgy was cultivated and reached a very high level of excellence.
These artistic and cultural achievements were nurtured and sustained by a Canons Regular community, the spiritual strength of which had not abated even on the eve of the Reformation. This is borne out by the Dominican friar Felix Faber who commented on Novacella in his travelogue of 1483: “It boasts a large church with precious vestments and a good library. Its inhabitants are mature and reverent men and I believe I have never heard more precise or better choral singing than in this monastery.”