Olivetan Monastery at Galzignano Terme. A will written in 1197 mentions a donation to the monks of Venda and documents the existence of a religious community near the summit of the highest hill. The first monk to retreat to this place was Adamo di Torreglia who lived in a cave on the summit until 1160. In 1209, Stefano, a former prior of St Justina, and Brother Alberico built two small churches dedicated to St Michael the Archangel and St John the Baptist, and from 1229 on, the small hermitage became a true monastery following the Rule of St Benedict. Bequests made by the aristocratic family of Maltraversi di Castelnuovo and, later, the Da Carrara family, increased its importance and a more imposing church dedicated to St John the Baptist was built on the site of the first two churches. In 1380, the site was given to the Olivetan Congregation, an aristocratic order of expert painters and wood carvers. The church, with a single rectangular nave and imposing bell tower, boasted an altar, a carved wooden choir, a presbytery with carved trachyte lesenes and a crypt dedicated to the Madonna under the main altar. The monastery with its imposing, austere layout featured corridors, cells, storerooms, a cloister and vegetable gardens. After a long period of calm that lasted until 1771, the Republic of Venice dissolved the monastery, moved the monks away and auctioned the site and its lands, which were bought by the Erizzo family. The once-grand monastery became a shelter for shepherds and inevitably fell to ruin.
Sentiero Monte Venda, Via Sottovenda 3, Galzignano Terme (PD)