The time-honoured Torba complex dates back to the 5th century A.D., when the Romans constructed the walls of a military outpost to counter the threat of barbarian invasion, near the village of Castelseprio. To this day, the watchtower stills stands as a testament to the original function of the castrum, carried forward by Goths, Byzantines and Longobards and subject to continuous change over time.
Having been a defensive fortress, Torba became a religious centre with the settlement there of a group of Benedictine nuns who in the 8th century commissioned the construction of the monastery and, later, the small church. For around seven centuries, the secluded female community inhabited this site, and the legacy of their prolonged stay is to be found in the hieratic frescoes in the tower, which have an almost mysterious aura about them.
In the 15th century, the Benedictines moved on, signalling the start for Torba of a period of slow decline that led to the complex being transformed into a farm and, in the early 19th century, to it losing its religious function, sliding gradually into a state of degradation that came to an end only in 1976 thanks to FAI. Today, this ancient site with its highly significant past (not by chance was it inscribed in 2011 in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites) is enjoying a new lease of life thanks also to the continuous discovery of Longobard-era relics, which constitute just one of the surprises that the monastery – and the surrounding area, rich in natural and artistic treasures – offers to those who head off the beaten track in search of interesting places.
The Monastero di Torba is open to public from Wednesday to Sunday and on public holidays on Mondays and Tuesdays
• from March 4th to September 30th: from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
• from 1 October to 8 December: from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Last entry: 30 minutes before closure.
A8 Milan-Varese Motorway (“Autostrada dei Laghi A8 Milano-Varese”): take the Solbiate Arno exit, then follow the signs for Castelseprio and Torba.
Special deals on taxis:
CONSORZIO ARTIGIANI VARESE TRASPORTO PERSONE
RADIO TAXI VARESE
For info and costs please call: tel. (+39) 0332 24 18 00
Rides to Torba Monastery (Castelseprio) from Varese and vice versa
By public transport
On Trenord trains, Milan branch: get off at Tradate station, continue by bus (Giuliani & Laudi operator - line B45), head for Varese and get off at the “Torba” stop.
For the train timetables, consult the Trenord site, and for the bus timetables consult the site of the bus operators.
Internal parking for cars near the monastery.
*with the exception of specific events, when only the additional event charge will apply.
During events the price may be subject to change
FAIr Play Family€1 on top of the cost of the ticket.
Run until you lose your breath, discover secret passageways, find the perfect place for a somersault, listen to the sounds of nature: there are a total of 60 activities on offer through the “FAIr Play Family” project, which invites children aged 5-12 to discover the interior and exterior of the property in an original, creative way, stimulating their imagination and curiosity. It is a playful, unconstrained approach that is also respectful to both art and nature, with a view to ensuring that the visitor experience is educational for the younger generation, who after all will be the future “custodians of Italy’s beauty”.
Guided tours lasting one hour are available for groups at the following rates:
• Guided tour in Italian: €70 (maximum 25-30 visitors)
• Guided tour in a language other than Italian: €90 (maximum 25-30 visitors)
For information and bookings, please click here.
School groups and schoolchildren are welcome on Tuesdays. Prior booking essential.
Purchases from the bookshop make a tangible contribution to supporting the work of FAI.
Comfortable shoes are recommended
Disabled visitors can access free-of-charge those FAI properties that are open to the public by showing their ANMIC (Associazione Nazionale Mutilati e Invalidi Civili) card.
Due to its nature, the property is challenging to visit by those who have difficulty walking.
The external passageways (access route to the church and the path along the walls) are covered in loose gravel. The lawn is accessible to all. The first and second floors of the tower can only be reached via the staircases – there is no lift/elevator.
La cucina del Sole
Opening times: 10am - 6pm, Wednesday to Sunday
Prior booking essential on Saturday evenings
For bookings: tel. (+39) 348 8687196
The grounds include a picnic area
Torba Monastery, a timeless jewel between Milan and Varese
The complex can accommodate various types of M.I.C.E. and private events: corporate or private dinners, shows, exhibitions, screenings, photo or film shoots, ceremonies, weddings and private receptions. On request, the monastery can provide a list of local suppliers to cover the following services: banqueting (in-house restaurant), setting-up services, flowers, hostess service, music, PR, technical service, musical entertainment, photography.
By choosing a FAI property for your event, you are contributing to the conservation and safeguarding of Italy's heritage.
What can you do at Torba Monastery?
Wedding receptions, exclusive lunches and dinners, book presentations, product launches, catwalk events and concerts.
Corporate away days
Corporate away days. Corporate meetings, conferences, volunteering projects, team-building activities, “out of hours” guided tours and workshops led by experts just for you.
The monastery provides the perfect backdrop for photo shoots and filming.
Tel (+39) 339 2892686
Lunches and dinners: 55 people
Dimensions: 70 m2
Conferences, concerts: 90 people
Dimensions: 109 m2
Lunches, dinners: 100 people
Dimensions: 330 m2
Aperitifs, coffee breaks: 30-35 people
Dimensions: 50 m2