Restored and consolidated, this room with its sweeping groin vaults is still used today by the Benedictine monks to bake bread
Located in the Euganean Hills a few miles from Padua, Praglia Abbey is an ancient Benedictine monastery composed of layered medieval, late-Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. The complex underwent major restoration and consolidation beginning in 2010, with Architettura Tommasi commissioned to restore the northeast wing. Based in Saccolongo, Italy, the studio boasts many years’ experience with restoration projects. In this case, it worked in collaboration with the Veneto government’s archaeology and environment authority.
The final work carried out in the monastery was in its Sala Del Forno (bakery), which adjoins the cloister in the east wing of the abbey, just above the ruins of a medieval castle. With its sweeping groin vaults, this place remains important for the monastic community, since the monks continue to use it to prepare and bake bread, which they do according to traditions handed down from the 16th century.
Given the complexity of the project, the restoration was planned and carried out in stages over an extended period. The original 16th-century terracotta floor was removed to strengthen the internal columns and portico, and was subsequently re-laid, combined with terracotta tiles from the Antica Fornace Carraro tileworks in Piove di Sacco over the top of energy-efficient radiant panels.
A new Cor-Ten steel and pink Asiago marble staircase was built, designed to maintain aesthetic continuity with its surroundings and to harmoniously complement them while also respecting the abbey’s history. The plaster walls were restored and integrated with opus signunum and intonachino to preserve the authenticity of the ancient finishes. An old carved walnut door at the entrance to the room was also restored, and a flue was built to ensure the proper extraction of smoke from the oven.
Finally, to enhance the beauty and essential nature of the spaces, a new lighting system was installed.
Location: Teolo (Padova), Italy
Architect: Architettura Tommasi
Photography by Marcello Mariana, courtesy of Architettura Tommasi