Responsible tourism is an increasing phenomenon in Italy in the last years: more and more travelers want to combine authentic experiences with the choice of essential accommodations, located in places suitable for meditation and relaxation.
Convents, monasteries, shrines and abbeys are the ideal solution for tourists who want to stay in an intimate retreat, leaving behind the confusion and crowds that characterize some popular holiday destinations.
For this reason we recommend you this guide to the 15 most beautiful monasteries and religious lodging in Italy, selected with the help of Savelli Religious, historic shop in Rome specialized in sacred objects and handmade religious articles.
The Savelli advices were essential to realize an exhaustive article with the contacts of the accommodation facilities in many Italian regions.
The itinerary ranging from abbeys to monasteries recommended especially to pilgrims, up to historic dwellings that have kept the hospitality as a primary value.
Are you ready for a trip in the name of spirituality and inner peace?
Convent and Shrine of Madonna di Pietralba
If mountains inspire you as a holiday destination, the Shrine of Pietralba, in Nova Ponente, in the province of Bolzano, will leave you speechless.
The Convent is open throughout the year and boasts a breathtaking view over the Dolomites, the presence of a Pilgrim’s House, dedicated to hospitality; furthermore this is an ideal starting point for excursions in the woods of South Tyrol.
Contacts: +39 0471 615 124.
Oropa Shrine in Biella
You’ll be surprised that just 15 minutes from the center of Biella, in Piedmont, there is the Shrine of Oropa, surrounded by Biella Alps, that offers many kinds of rooms from very low rates.
For those who want to join in a pilgrimage, the main event is the Way of Oropa, a hiking path that includes a part of the Via Francigena, the Shrine of the Brughiera and Oasi Zegna.
Contacts: +39 015 25551200
Basilica of Superga’s Convent
Getting to Superga from Turin is easy, as is only 10 km far from the center and there are several bus lines to reach the hill where rises the Basilica.
However, we suggest you go up on the cremagliera, a tram that runs on a steep grade railway and climbs the hill offering spectacular views.
Superga Convent gives hospitality in the guestroom and is a must-visit for the panorama of Turin from the hilltop and for the quietness that reigns in this area.
Contacts: +39 011 8997456.
Santa Maria Abbey in Morimondo
The Abbey of Morimondo, situated at a short distance from Milan, was founded by Cistercian monks in 1134 and is a sought-after attractive by those who want to explore Lombardy.
The Abbey owes its charm to the Gothic architectural style and to its museum, born to enhance the rooms of the monastery. Don’t forget to visit the valley of the Ticino Park and broom woods surrounding the Abbey. The former guesthouse was restored in 2000 and has 20 rooms. Contacts: +39 02 94961919.
San Francesco del Deserto, Venice
Imagine an island located in one of the most romantic spots in Italy: this is San Francesco del Deserto, a small island of the Venice Lagoon where Saint Francis of Assisi landed in 1220, returning from the Holy Land.
The friars welcome travelers for a few days, by reservation only. Enjoy a valuable opportunity to break away from everyday life.
Contacts: +39 041 5286863
Praglia Abbey in Padua
The Praglia Abbey is the destination suggested to those who want to visit Padua at a slower pace comparing to the usual tourist.
This Benedictine monastery is well-known for the restoration center of antique books and herbalist’s shop; furthermore you can join the daily activities of the monks.
The guesthouse is the perfect solution for groups, as it has 18 beds, a kitchen and a dining room.
Contacts: +39 049 9999322.
Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary in Fontanellato
In Fontanellato, in the province of Parma, there is the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary, built in 1514 and restored several times; the church has maintained a baroque architectural style. This place of worship is a stage of pilgrimages for centuries, so it has a long tradition of hospitality towards who wants a stay in the sign of prayer and meditation.
Fontanellato also definitely worth a visit because it is the seat of the Labyrinth of Masone, the largest labyrinth in the world, an extraordinary park that also includes a square of 2000 square meters surrounded by porches.
Contacts: +39 0521 829 911.
Monastery of Santa Croce del Corvo in Ameglia
The charm of the landscape, the intensity of faith and the purity of nature are combined in a large park in Liguria, where is located the monastery of Santa Croce del Corvo. The name of the hamlet is Bocca di Magra, in Ameglia, near La Spezia, a treasure to discover and a place where to regenerate you thanks to a very unique natural context. The monastery complex, in fact, also includes a restored villa where to accommodate travelers.
Contacts: +39 0187 60911.
Holy Hermitage and Monastery of Camaldoli
The forest of Camaldoli, in Poppi near Arezzo, is a green paradise surrounded by Tuscan–Emilian Apennines and is the place where, over 1000 years ago, were founded the Monastery and the Hermitage of San Romualdo.
You can stay in the farmhouses in the surroundings, provided with all the amenities.
During the year there are many activities for those who want to retreat in a medieval monastery.
Contacts: +39 338 7918153
Residenza d’Arte in Torrita di Siena
Torrita di Siena is a hamlet situated on a hill in Val di Chiana, the appropriate setting for Residenza d’Arte, a charming relais that stands where once there was a monastery.
Although this is not a religious building, Residenza d’Arte allows you to immerse yourself in the enchanting Tuscan countryside without giving up to the comfortableness of a hotel.
Eremito in Umbria
In these hectic times it has become essential to get away for a while and find a genuine contact with nature. Eremito, plunged in the green heart of Umbria, is born with this target: helping people regain their own inner balance by deleting all distractions and forgetting all worries.
The rooms are the restored “celluzze” of a hermitage, turned today in a unique retreat.
Contacts: +39 0763 891 010.
Convent and Sanctuary of Blessed Benedetto Passionei in Marche
On top of the Colle San Giovanni, near Fossombrone, it stands the Sanctuary of Blessed Benedetto Passionei, dating back from the XV century and a favorite destination by pilgrims who visit Marche. Both the convent and the church were restored recently; furthermore here are organized religious rites.
Contacts: +39 0721 714 631.
Abbey of Saints Vincent and Anastasius in Rome
It seems amazing, but in a big city like Rome there is a monastery surrounded by greenery in which the activities take place following the Benedictine monastic tradition: prayer, manual work, study and meditation.
The Tre Fontane Abbey is located at Via Acque Salvie, 1, in Eur district. The guesthouse is available for retreats of a maximum of six days.
Contacts: +39 06 5401655.
Sanctuary of St. Matthew in San Marco in Lamis, Foggia
Apulia is a destination very rich of attractions from the naturalistic point of view and is also an ideal place for spiritual holidays. The Sanctuary of St. Matthew in San Marco in Lamis is located on Mount Gargano, and has the distinctive trait of having been built around a cave and is flanked by a complex of buildings from different eras.
La Casa del Pellegrino, provided with 50 rooms, is located right next to the Sanctuary.
Contacts: +39 0882 831151.
Abbey of San Martino delle Scale in Monreale
One of the must-sees near Palermo is Monreale, well-known for its cathedral recently included among the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
San Martino delle Scale is a hamlet of Monreale and is the seat of the Abbey which also offers accommodation facilities, an academy of fine arts and a gift shop.
The landscape is characterized by woods, so it is very windy and cool even during the summer season.
Contacts: +39 091 418 104.
In Italy you can find hospitality in ancient convents and monasteries, recommended especially to those who want to live an experience different from the standard hotel, and for those seeking, above all, silence and calmness.