The Monastery complex
When Abbazia di Novacella is mentioned, superlatives abound. There is no doubt that the Monastery complex represents one of the most significant architectural ensembles in South Tyrol. Structures and works of art from the Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, as well as Rococo and Classicist periods evidence the varied history of Novacella, attracting many visitors every year.
At the entrance to the monastic complex, visitors are fascinated by the so-called Castel Sant’Angelo, a two-story gate chapel. It represents the most important example of a Romanesque centralized-plan building in Tyrol. Also dating to the end of the twelfth century, the massive Romanesque bell tower of the Abbey’s church dominates the abbey ensemble. The church has not preserved its medieval character; instead, its interior turns out to be a jewel of the Southern German Rococo. Another highlight is the cloister with its pointed arches and gothic frescoes. A representation of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man deserves a special mention; it was painted by Friedrich Pacher around 1480, one of the most important Tyrolean painters of his time. The south side of the cloister provides today’s entrance to the Monastery Museum. Among its art treasures are numerous panel paintings and winged altars by well-known artists from the late Middle Ages. The Abbey Library, with its elegant stucco ornaments dating from the transition period between the Rococo and Classicism, represents one of the most beautiful eighteenth century secular rooms in South Tyrol.
Baroque self-confidence, but also the Monastery’s stellar reputation, is evidenced by the so-called Miracle Fountain from 1669. Located in the middle of the Abbey Yard, its artist Nikolaus Schiel added an eighth field with an image of the Abbey to his Seven Wonders of the World.
A few years ago, the Abbey Gardens were restored to their historical look, and reopened to visitors.