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Archaeological Museum of the Abbey

What to see in Novalesa, Torino, Piedmont


The Archaeological Museum of the Abbey exhibits most of the most significant findings from the excavation campaigns that have affected the monastic complex since 1978, as well as two sections dedicated to monastic history and the restoration of the book. The first museum nucleus is located in the covered portico, closed by windows and placed on the eastern side of the novice's courtyard; here are placed stone materials of a more considerable size such as Roman columns, a contemporary milestone, capitals and fragments of columns from the ancient structure of the abbey church. The first section also exposes a significant nucleus of Roman bricks, evidence of frequentation of the site prior to the foundation of the monastery.

The first room houses instead the section dedicated to the restoration of the book, art still practiced today in the annexed to the abbey. It illustrates the types of writers' media, the evolution of writing, the techniques of engraving and printing, and restoration techniques. The same hall also houses the section dedicated to the history of monasticism and to the monastic life, with reproductions of the founding act of the monastery and of the Chronicon Novaliciense, as well as a selection of ceramics, glass and canteen vases, which testify to life daily of the monastery between the late Middle Ages and the eighteenth century.

The third room, located in the southern arm of the cloister, where once the monks' refectory was located, houses the most conspicuous portion of artefacts: grouped by different chronological bands, they are evidence of various types of artefacts and date from the time Late Roman and Gothic. Within the collection stand out fragments of statues, funerary inscriptions, parts of sarcophagi and ancient and early medieval architectural elements, but also objects of daily use such as a bone comb from the Longobard period, and fragments of frescoed pictorial decorations assigned to the intervention of the Tolosano Anthoyne de Lhonye realized in the second half of the XV century.

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