The presence of the Cistercians in the Piacentine valley has left a wondrous sign in the Romanesque architecture of the abbey and monastery, which still today is a place of spirituality and industriousness. Legend has it that a white dove outlined the monasteryâs perimeters with small straws, under the incredulous gaze of the monks. More likely, the dedication of the monastery to St Mary of the Dove is a reference to the Annunciation. The jewel of Chiaravalle is the fourteenth century cloister with its arches propped up by slender columns made of Verona marble, and decorated with narrative reliefs. Don’t miss the fresco of the Crucifixion with its obvious reference to Giotto, as well as the Infiorata (flower carpets) on the feast of Corpus Domini, which inundates the church with perfume and colour.