Arbore Monastery

Top choice

This Unesco-protected church in the village of Arbore receives a fraction of the visitors of the other painted monasteries and hence feels more private and special. The small scale allows you to study the paintings up close, to appreciate the skills and techniques. The monastery dates from 1503 and was the brainchild of local nobleman Luca Arbore. It took about five months to build and four decades to paint.

The tiny interior consists of just three chambers. The chamber nearest the altar has a particularly well-preserved votive painting (on the facing wall) of Arbore and his family offering the church to God. The tombs of Arbore and his family sit in another chamber. The interior is in the process of long-term restoration and preservation. The exterior paintings on the western wall are in relatively good shape, while the paintings that once covered the rest of the outside have been lost to the ravages of time.

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