Torba Monastery

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How to get

A8 Milan - "Laghi" toll motorway, Varese exit, continue in the direction of Tradate


Amid the green Varese woodland, at the feet of the Castelseprio archaeological park, the monumental complex of Torba monastery bears witness to over a thousand years of history.

The complex was a military outpost of the late Roman empire before it was taken over by the Goths and Longobards (a defensive tower and wall date from the 5th and 6th centuries). Torba later became a place of prayer and religious works for the Benedictines (who also built the church and monastery between the 8th and 13th centuries).

The friars abandoned the site in 1453, and the complex was used as a farm. The tower conserves a number of rare and important frescoes from the late 8th century. The monastery’s small church dates mainly from the 11th century, with the exception of its 8th century crypt and the apse area which, with a lively motif alternating bands of large stone and brick, and with refined hanging arches, clearly dates from the 13th century.

Thanks to careful restoration, the interior of the single chamber church with its wood beam roof and plastered walls maintains the original simplicity of a poor, medieval monastic structure. The 5th-6th century tower is an extremely important example of military architecture. The buttresses and walls become thinner as they rise and demonstrate architecturally the law of diminishing forces. The only apertures at the base are slots, while the second floor has mushroom shaped windows (i.e. with the base of the arch wider than the window opening). A decorative band of cotto marks the original height of the tower, before it was raised.


€ 3,50

More details

from March until September: 10 am / 6 pm
from November until February: 10 am / 5 pm

Closed in January
Closed on Monday and Tuesday

for guided tours