The Abbey of Fruttuaria is located in San Benigno Canavese, in the Canavese area, in the northern part of Turin, towards the Aosta Valley.
The Abbey of Fruttuaria, founded around the year 1000 by Guglielmo da Volpiano, can easily be compared to that one of Cluny.
Why doing this comparison? Because the works carried out in Fruttuaria following the renovation of the heating system, which required the removal of the floor, allowed to discover the ancient church under the rubble that served as a filling under the pavement of the present church.
This was built to allow more monks from the abbey to con-celebrate the liturgy on different altars, so much so that the three aisles were cut by a transept that housed five chapels
The possibility, below the present church, to visit what remains of the original abbey, it’s really amazing. It’s possible to see some of the still intact mosaics, rediscover the pits where the bells that adorned the majestic bell tower were cast.
The eighteenth-century church, commissioned by the Cardinal Delle Lanze and erected over the remains of the original abbey, is a “little Saint Peter”. The interior, above all, resembles in an amazing way the Roman basilica, so much so that behind the high altar there is a canopy that, in smaller dimensions, is the copy of the one kept in St. Peter’s.
Next to the church there is a beautiful octagonal cloister that has been restored by paving the central part, thus removing the part of the garden, but which still has some fine antique details, such as some cooked items that adorn the portals under the arcades.
The Fruttuaria Abbey is open to the public: from April 1st to October 31st – every Sunday from 3.00pm to 5.30pm from November 1st to March 31st – by appointment Summer closure – from 10 July to 31 August .
Guided tours are organized by “Amici di Fruttuaria” Association which tell the story and show the treasures of the church, right down to the crypt and the base of the imposing bell tower.
After the visit to the abbey we continued the visit of San Benigno Canavese walking through the area that was once closed between the walls and used as a Ricetto. We also discovered a series of wonderful sundials painted on a block of flats along the main street, not far from the Town Hall building. The four sundials, which at first glance might seem similar, are instead a unique and very rare series, embellished by the only sundial in the world that combines the hours with the zodiac signs. All the others were destroyed by the Inquisition during the years of the witch hunt.
The dinner at the Ristorante dal Duca, in Via Carlo Alberto, was a worthy conclusion to the evening. Excellent Piedmontese dishes, including a delicious finanziera and a fabulous fritto misto, have combined the cultural and convivial part.