In the last few days we have wrote about Lisbon, so it's time to come back in Italy as #TouristsAtHome and visit the marvelous Chiaravalle Abbey in Milan!
A small jewel in the middle of nowhere
Chiaravalle Abbey is surprisingly located in the suburban neighborhood of Rogoredo that is not renowned for its touristic appeal, yet this marvelous Gothic building has been here, wanted by Saint Bernard himself, in Via Sant'Arialdo since 1135 witnessing the importance of monasticism during those days.
The abbey is a real small jewel that will struck you for its simplicity, its red bricks, its regular and linear shapes and its relaxed atmosphere that you can feel overcoming the old watchtower that once protected this place of meditation and prey so important for the development of the surrounding area.
The cobblestones lead you to the façade of the abbey passing by the old guesthouse where, today, the monks run a small shop ad a small café that offers interesting craft beers, cheese and cold cuts.
The external simplicity of this place turns into amusement once entered into the church where beautiful XVII frescos adorn the walls bringing the tourist in a trip that starts from the worldly life of Saint Bernard ( entrance, Fimmenghini ) and ends in the Presbytery with the spiritual vocation of the Saint represented by the Lactatio Bernardi.
The wooden choir is truly amazing as well as the frescos located in the dome and in the transept. The northern part of the transept is devoted to martyrs and leads to the Abbey's graveyard, while the southern part is devoted to the Cistercian order and leads to the cells, the cloister and the refectory. Here you can see on of the masterpieces of Bernardino Luini, La Madonna della Buonanotte, so called because it is located on top of the staircase that once led the monks to the cells.
It's time to visit the cloister, red and simple with its Ciarabiciaccola Tower, where you can feel again that atmosphere of peace, meditation and humility that pervades this place.
Here you can find some useful info to organize your trip:
Web Site: http://www.monasterochiaravalle.it
Address: Via Sant'Arialdo 102, Milano
How to get there: the easiest way is by car, but you can also use public transport: arrive at Milano Rogoredo Railway Station and take the bus 140 ( 2 stops ).
Church and Cloister: 9-12 ( Tuesday / Saturday ), 15-17 ( Tuesday / Sunday ).
You can take part into different guided tours that will show you not only the Church with its cloister but also an old windmill and the Saint Bernard Chapel. The info point located in the enclosed square of the Abbey is responsible for the organization of these tours. Keep in mind that you can pay only with cash and that the tours are scheduled at fixed times and have restricted number of participants. The complete tour lasts 2 hours and costs € 12... we decided to by a simple but good audioguide for € 5.
We hope you find this post useful and if you have any question or anything to add .... comment with us!