Fruttuaria, Abbey of
FRUTTUARIA, ABBEY OF
Former benedictine monastery, near Volpiano, in the Piedmont, Italy, about ten miles from Turin. It was founded in the early 11th century by william of saint-bÉnigne of dijon and his uncle, Count Arduin of Ivrea, who died at Fruttuaria in 1015. William, a native of Volpiano, had been a monk of cluny and Saint-Bénigne in Dijon. The abbey enjoyed Episcopal exemption from 1029 on. The life of its monks was so exemplary that they were requested—even beyond the dependent houses Fruttuaria founded—to reform the older monasteries all over north Italy, Corsica, and as far away as Lorraine. Thus, was founded the great Congregatio Fructuariensis. Meanwhile, the arts and scholarship flourished at the motherhouse. The abbey became excessively rich, to the point where it had its own mint. This led to decline and ruin, and in 1477 Pope Sixtus IV gave it into commendation. In 1617 the abbey was secularized and became a collegiate church. The Savoys, who had been commendatories since the time of Emanuele Filiberto in 1577, occupied the abbatial territories in 1710 with troops; after a long fight and excommunication (1741) of the commendatory abbots, Pope Benedict XIV had to recognize the state of affairs by abolishing the abbatial fief. During the Napoleonic era, French invaders did irreparable damage to Fruttuaria: the library was destroyed, the school suppressed, the goods and chattels sold, and the territory of the Abbot Nullius abolished (1803). After a brief restoration of the abbey, the Piedmont government finally suppressed it in 1848. A Salesian Institute was later built on the site. The Chronicon Fructuariense has not yet been edited.
Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés 1:1227–28. f. ughelli, Italia sacra, ed. n. coleti, 10 v. in 9 (2d ed. Venice 1717–22) 4:1066–68. g. penco, Storia del monachesimo in Italia (Rome 1961) 206–208.
[i. de piccoli]