Voltorre is a small town, which also belongs to Gavirate nestled at the foot of the park of Campo dei Fiori. Here, hidden in houses, stands the Cloisters, recognized national monument in 1911: it is a building complex consisting of a cloister itself, from the tower, the church and some local that the south side are repeated on the first floor and are used for exhibitions.
It was built according to historical sources as evidence, between 1100 and 1150, during the greater spread of monasteries in Italy. The information architecture of the cloister is no doubt that Lombard Romanesque. The Benedictines were praying to Voltorre, cultivating the land, housing pilgrims, meticulously transcribing and representing codes until the year 1519.
Following the abolition of the monastic orders, with the revolutionary era, the complex was split Voltorre and for other purposes. Only at the end of the 800 began a slow recovery of the buildings that culminated in 1954 with the acquisition by the Province of Varese. Today the cloister has become an exhibition center and is completely renovated and open.
The first reference to a church dating back to Voltorre Code 1154 (a papal privilege), when in fact the church was dedicated to St. Michael, whose cult diffused in time and in areas of Lombard domination, is to assume a construction of temple prior to the date stated on the code.
This first building still find remains that allow detection of the two apses of the fifth and sixth centuries. On it was probably then the Romanesque church built in XI century. It small, has a plant with a single nave with a semicircular apse.
The facade was altered in later centuries and retains traces of its medieval origins.
The Campanile, form quadragolare, robust and low, has a prominent belfry dating back to the twelfth century.
The greater part of the complex is still occupied by the Cloister, which is located behind the church.
Originally from the late twelfth century and by Lanfranc Ligurno, it was made in a long time, as reflected by the evolution of stylistic dictates as the construction proceeded.
The capitals of the columns have different forms and are decorated with valuable reasons to human figures, animals, flowers, fruit, and with geometric patterns.
The prior of the Abbey of Fruttuaria Voltorre was appointed: the priory played a leading role in the local community, since it has the monastic community of great power, property and influence in the surrounding lands. His period of greatest development dates back to the thirteenth centuries, who then followed a slow and inexorable decline. First passed into the hands of Alexander Sforza, then the Papacy under Leo IX, who awarded commendation order Augustinian Canons of Lateran, which made it a farm.
Paradoxically in the intended use, the complex took place also flourished and a revaluation of the land surrounding Voltorre. The church was extended between the ‘600 and ‘700, and has a chapel, all in baroque style.
Following the abolition of the monastic orders, with the revolutionary era, Voltorre The complex was fractionated and used for various purposes, including private. Only at the end of the 800 began a slow recovery of the buildings, which was interrupted in 1913 by a fire, which went to considerable damage to many buildings. The recovery was revived in the ’30s, when part of the cloister became the property of State Property, and culminated with the acquisition by the Province of Varese in 1954, a portion of the monument, which was added to the state property in the years 70.
Today the cloister has become an exhibition center and is completely renovated and open.
How to get there without a car:
Take the Trenord train from Milan Cadorna station. Check on the site of the railroad company for their current schedules, they have one train every hour, about 1 hour and half from Milan to the station of Gavirate.
From the station of Gavirate the Chiostro is at an half hour walk.