Abbey of Staffarda
In what is known as the Saluzzo (south of Turino, Italy) the abbey of Staffarda represents a model of the Cistercian philosophy of space. Italian tradition is seen within the Gothic architecture that was brought into the area back in 1100s
The abbaye dates to 1135. At that time monks inherited some land from the Marquis of Saluzzo, Manfredo I. It was nothing land and the monks drained it and turned it and then commenced to transform the land into a place of prayer.
They built a sizeable centre with the abbey, cloisters, guest-quarters and a covered market. All is still in place today.
Staffarda established itself as an agricultural and trading centre. When you drive up to the abbaye it looks like you are going to a small centre as opposed to an isolated abbaye.
The Cistercian Gothic style is evident when you see the cloisters, chapter house, guest-quarters and covered market the influence of the Lombard Romanesque architecture can been seen in the church. The nave and two aisles each terminates in a semicircular apse. The interior is rather austere. The alternating red and gray of the bricks in the many cross vaults provide the colour and decoration of the church.
The pillars are all different in size, shape, capitals and decoration. Symbols include lotus flowers and suns which at the time were the pagan symbol of excellence.
The exterior that we see today dates to the 1500's. This is also the time frame of the impressive polptych by Oddone Pascale which sits on the main alter.
Note the hours, we had to make two trips to see the abbaye as it is closed on Mondays. It is open April 1 to October 31 on Tuesday to Sunday 8.30am - 12.30pm and 2.00 – 6.00pm. During November to March it is open Tuesdays to Sunday 8.00am - 12.30pm 2.00 – 5.00pm.
Web site: Abbazia di Staffarda