- Religious Tourism
A stay in Lombardy's tranquil monasteries
Rich in history, a land of conquests, and a crossroads between empires and cultures, Lombardy is one of the Italian regions with the most sacred architecture and places of worship.
Including abbeys, basilicas, Carthusian monasteries, churches, convents, hermitages, monasteries, oratories and many other structures, a total of 3668 religious buildings are listed on the Cultural Heritage of Lombardy website. Many of these are now destinations for religious tourism and convent stays: in fact, sleeping in the abbeys, convents, and monasteries of Lombardy has become a real trend.
Convent hospitality has won over many tourists: it is now well-known and appreciated not only by those who practice religious tourism in places of prayer and meditation, but also by those who are simply looking for a break from the frenzy of everyday life and want to relax in a setting of great serenity, following the natural rhythms of their own psyche and spirituality.
Convent hospitality in Lombardy
Lombardy offers countless destinations for those who would like to stay in its convents, monasteries, and abbeys. These sacred places are full of charm and were historically devoted to welcoming travellers and pilgrims. They have belonged to the regular religious orders of canons, monks, mendicants and clerics for centuries. In some cases, alongside historic buildings, tourists are hosted in modern buildings that offer every comfort and are immersed in the charm of the place.
The Ospitalità religiosa (Religious Hospitality) portal, managed by the Italian non-profit association of the same name, is an excellent starting point for choosing your holiday. This website presents accommodation solutions within Lombardy's religious establishments, affiliated with the association in each province, suitable for religious and lay groups or individuals, couples and families, pilgrims and travellers on the Via Francigena...
The Viaggi spirituali (Spiritual Journeys) portal is also useful, and is dedicated to religious tourism and pilgrimages to all sanctuaries in Italy and the Holy Land, with a section dedicated to Lombardy.
Lombardy's convents, abbeys, and monasteries offering accommodation
For study and prayer as well as a peaceful pause: staying in Lombardy's sacred architectural sites is an experience that invites you to slow down and get back in touch with yourself. A different kind of holiday, low cost, with just a few essential rules to follow: respect for silence and timetables, adherence to a simple lifestyle, healthy food prepared by the community, and in some cases self-catering. Here are some suggestions...
Chiaravalle and Viboldone: two monasteries on the outskirts of Milan
Two of the three great Cistercian abbeys in Milan, heirs to medieval monasticism, are open for religious hospitality. The Monastery of S. Maria di Chiaravalle welcomes pilgrims and tourists to its guest quarters, offering courses, spiritual exercises, prayer meetings and more. Guests must respect the moments of silence and can join in with convent life and prayers during the liturgical hours of the monastic day, which follows the Rule of St Benedict: "ora et labora".
Managed by the the monastic community of the Vallombrosian Benedictines, the Monastery of SS. Pietro e Paolo in Viboldone, a hamlet of San Giuliano Milanese, is one of the most important of Lombardy's medieval complexes. Here, the monks dedicate themselves to work, an expression of Benedictine spirituality to strengthen the relationship between the members of the community. They also organise prayer meetings, educational sessions, and orientation meetings. The day has a simple rhythm, beginning at 4:55am, with choir sessions, readings, prayers, work, lunch, Vespers at 6pm, dinner at 7.30pm and Compline at 9.30pm. Then the silence and the night's rest begin.
The ancient Benedictine abbey of Bergamo: San Paolo D'Argon
The Abbey Oasis of the Spirit of San Paolo D'Argon (BG) boasts one thousand years of history (1079). Today, this site of rare historic and archaeological beauty in the hills of Argon, managed by the non-profit organisation Diakonia, houses the Fileo study and training centre and welcomes visiting priests, individuals, families and groups. It also organises school camps, conferences, congresses, training courses and spiritual exercises...
On the shores of Lake Como: the Abbey of Piona
The Abbey of Santa Maria di Piona, also known as the Priory of Piona, is located in Colico, on the Lecco side of Lake Como, on the Olgiasca peninsula. This jewel of Romanesque-Lombard art (1138) is managed by the Cistercian congregation of Casamari, which organises retreats and spiritual exercises, training and orientation meetings for self-managed groups against the stunning backdrop of the shores of Lake Como, in an exclusive and peaceful place.