Säben Mountain, together with its stately abbey, is worth a visit simply because it is such a special place archaeologically, historically and artistically. The abbey, which has been home to cloistered Benedictine nuns for centuries, stands on a rock above Chiusa/Klausen.
It is accessible from the medieval City of Artists by walking through a small gate in the city wall and up some stone steps.
The first traces of a settlement here on this strategically located mountain date back to the Mesolithic Age. In antiquity, the Romans erected a military base here. So the Isarco Valley was already Christianized by the time of St. Augustine, as evinced by the discovery of a church foundation, including cemetery, dating from the fourth to fifth century AD. Bishop Ingenuin – buried at Holy Cross Church, which was important at the time – is documented to have participated to the Synod of Grado in 579. In 1974 the abbey participated in the Beuronese Congregation.
The contemplative Benedictine nuns of Chiusa have lived in seclusion right up to the present day, so the monastery itself is not open to visitors. Holy Cross Church, St. Mary's Chapel, the Abbey Church and the Church of Our Lady, however, may be visited at certain times. Branzoll Castle on Säben Mountain is privately owned and is therefore not open to visitors.