Abbey of Morimondo [26Km from Milan]
Founded in 1134 by the Cistercian monks who came from the Monastery of Morimond in France just north of Dijon, the Abbey of Morimondo soon became a stronghold of agricultural colonization. The monks were instrumental in draining the land on the left bank of the Ticino River and transforming it into fertile farmland.In 1779, with the arrival of Napoleon’s armies in Italy, the Abbey of Morimondo was secularized and the monks left, only returning to inhabit it as late as 1952.
Its church, dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente, was built between 1182 and 1292. Featuring a basilica-style plan with three naves with vaults supported by pointed arches and rest on cylindrical pillars. Among its most significant nothworthy works are: the 14th century font located near the first pillar, the “Madonna with Child and Saints Benedict and Bernard” by Bernardino Luini located in the fourth bay and its wooden choir which boasts 70 finally carved wooden stalls by Francesco Giramo (1552). Only one wing of its cloisters, rebuilt between 1400 and 1500, is original.
Its chapter house containing two naves, still retains its original Cistercian shape. Its interior, which has excellent acoustics, makes it an ideal location for classical music and religious concerts held at various times throughout the year. The Abbey of Morimondo is also used for gastronomic events, historical re-enactments, markets, Christmas concerts and workshops on art and herbal medicine. Nearby, there are still several Medieval farmhouses that belonged to the Abbey of Morimondo known as “granges” including the 15th century Cascina Fiorentina, founded by the monks of Settimo Fiorentino and the imposing, 17th century Cascina di Fallavecchia, a rural Lombard farmhouse with a closed courtyard, formerly a small village in its own right until the 19th century. Both farms are still working concerns, offering educational activities for children. Outdoor enthusiasts can either cycle or walk along the Naviglio.
Open Oct-Mar: Mon-Fri 8.30am-noon/2.30pm-4pm, Sat 8.30am-noon/2.30pm-5pm, Sun 9am-noon/2.30pm-6pm. Apr-Sept: Mon-Fri 8.30am-noon/2.30pm-6pm, Sat 8.30am-noon/2.30pm-7pm, Sun 9am-noon/2.30pm-7pm.
Free guided visits on Saturdays (3pm, no reservations required) and on Sundays (3pm-4pm). Full ticket price 6€.