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Monastero di Torba

265 Reviews
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Monastero di Torba

265 Reviews
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Omar Antonio wrote a review Nov 2019
New York City, New York629 contributions22 helpful votes
+1
A unique place built in the 5 century as a Roman fort against Barbarians. Converted in a Monastery for Benedict Nuns in the 8 century. Abandones in the 14 century and recovered to humanity in 1970s A unique site with the architecture of the Romans dedicated to be an Abbey. Beautifully restored by the FAI. Has a great restaurant and video mini theater. The forest is for walking and feeling the peace of the monastery. Best in class site to pass by, learn, enjoy, and have a good meal. Do not miss it
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Date of experience: November 2019
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ThatsJustice1 wrote a review Jul 2019
Texas59 contributions16 helpful votes
I would highly recommend visiting this site for anyone who enjoys history. The site is very easy to get to and has plenty of parking. You have to walk up a small hill to purchase your ticket (7.00 Euro for adults). You will get a one page guide explains the site and the history. You will also be able to watch a 3-5 minute movie about the history of the site. The movie is in Italian, but I was provided a headset with the English translation. This is a unique piece of history. Remnants of the old battlement wall are accessible. The preservation of the site is impressive and worth the visit. Tips for a Successful Visit 1) Don't bring young children. This is an old site which requires a fondness for older historical places. I don't think children would derive much enjoyment from the site. Plus the admission fee can be kind of steep. 2) Do some research about the Castelseprio before coming. This will give you a history of the area and what you are looking at.
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Date of experience: July 2019
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Arwyn J wrote a review Jul 2018
Cadrezzate, Italy116 contributions21 helpful votes
Really interesting FAI site almost hidden in the Olona Valley south of Varese. Beautifully restored. Interesting history going back to Roman times. You only need about an hour for the visit but would recommend going at lunch time so that you can profit from the great little restaurant on the site. Should be combined with a visit to the Castelserpio Archeological Park, of which it is a part.
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Date of experience: July 2018
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calumthemighty wrote a review Aug 2014
durham, NC USA391 contributions55 helpful votes
+1
We visited the Monastero di Torba on the same day as the Parco Archeologico di Castelseprio (Archaeological Park of Castelseprio), August 4th, 2013. Although they are owned and operated by different organizations, the Archaeological Park and the Monastery of Torba were originally part of the same Roman defensive network, and are best visited together. To read reviews of Castelseprio: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1931787-d4163361-Reviews-Parco_Archeologico_di_Castelseprio-Castelseprio_Province_of_Varese_Lombardy.html The most fascinating aspect of visiting the Monastery of Torba is seeing the Sequence of History, the layers of habitation that have blanketed this place. The Tower of Torba, around which the Monastery of Torba was later built, started its humble existence as the easternmost tower of a 5th century Roman castrum (fort); just one of many identical square towers jutting forth from the walls. The fort passed into Gothic hands, then back to the Romans (in the guise of the Byzantine Empire), before coming under Lombard control. Under the Lombards, Sibrium (the fort's ancient name) was an important place. It was governed by a royal official, had stone buildings and churches, and minted coins. By the 8th century, the region was peaceful enough that the walls ceased to have military importance. The Tower of Torba was donated to an order of Benedictine Nuns, who lived and prayed in and around the tower until 1482. It was at this time (the 8th century) that the most interesting frescoes were painted, in memory of the Benedictine Sisters who were laid to rest inside the tower. Yes, the first floor of the former Roman defensive tower became a Christian tomb. The name of one nun, Aliberga, can still be seen next to her portrait. The next level functioned as an oratory, and is adorned with the remains of more frescoes. Various layers, dating to different phases of decor, can be discerned. The oldest layer, including the famous faceless nuns, may also be 8th century. In 1287, the Visconti family--embroiled in wars against its rivals for control of Milan and its hinterlands--leveled Sibrium's ancient walls and towers. Only the Tower of Torba was spared, on account of the nuns. A sturdy stone farmhouse now stands adjacent to the tower, right where the walls once stood. Once the Benedictines left in 1482, the lonely old tower became part of a working farm until it was abandoned in turn in the 1970s. The remains of these fine old farm buildings remind the visitor of yet another era that has past and fled. Now a restaurant occupies the space. Owned and restored by the FAI, visiting the Monastery of Torba costs 5 euros. There is the Tower, of course. A medieval church stands nearby, with a few scant bits of fresco inside. A large barn stands beside the farmhouse, along with other scattered rural outbuildings. A fair chunk of the Roman wall has been excavated (and perhaps reconstructed?) north and west of the tower. From reading other reviews, it seems FAI gives guided tours, at least at certain times. We were just sent to explore on our own, and there was much less information available in English than there was at Castelseprio. (Which is another good reason to visit both sites--and the Archaeological Park first.) I would have liked to explore the barn and farmhouse more, but felt a bit hesitant since it looked like the restaurant was getting ready for dinner service (we visited in the late afternoon). Probably would have been fine to do so, but ... Actually, if we had not had to meet the rest of the family back in Stresa for dinner (and had not had a very tired young child in tow), we would have been very tempted to stay for dinner. It is a lovely countryside location, steeped in history and tradition.
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Date of experience: September 2013
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