Traveling around the different towns on Lake Como in Italy, you can easily come across suggestive cloisters with a long history to tell.
The landscape of the area, full of nature elements such as mountains and lakes perfectly suits for the quiet and sacred atmosphere you can perceive in a cloister. Traditionally associated with religion and in particular with monks, some cloisters have been abandoned during the years and then intended to host public places, others have preserved a spiritual and religious function.
The complexes of Piona abbey (Colico), Sant’ Abbondio (Como) and Santa Maria delle Grazie (Gravedona) offer some examples.
At the foot of Legnone Mountain and with great glimpses on Lake Como, the Piona abbey in Colico is the ideal place to plunge into nature. The main part of the complex is the cloister: built up around thirteenth century upon request of the prior from then, it has been realised and decorated in a style between Romanesque and Gothic.
The ex-convent lying near the Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Gravedona hosts an evocative cloister frescoed with the telling’s Jesus life and Augustinian saints. Abandoned for a long time, the cloister serves today as a library. Every summer the building becomes the suitable location for the Gravedona Harmony festival dedicated to well-being.
Beside the Sant’Abbondio Basilica in Como you can find another example of cloister, which once was the centre of a Benedictine medieval monastery. The structure has been renovated several times up to becoming in 2007 one of the branches of Como university.
The typical square structure recalls for the four cardinal directions as well as the four elements of the universe, while the fountain and the tree of life usually at the centre represent Christ as source of life and food for blessed. Though the use of the cloister has changed throughout the years, they still lie upon the same concept of silence and reflection.
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