During its 23 rd meeting, held on 15 th July 1563, the Council of Trent (1545-1563) decreed that a “Seminarium perpetuum” be set up in all dioceses, so that the Bishop might “àlere et religiose educare et in sacris disciplinis instituere” 2 candidates for the priesthood. Following this directive, and despite various oppositions and hurdles, seminaries were established within the Church. In Italy, the greatest advancements were reached thanks to St. Carlo Borromeo’s endeavor (1532-1584), Milan’s Archbishop and faithful perpetrator of the Council’s decrees.

The first Bishops of the Seminary of Alba were Mons. Marco Girolamo Vida and Mons. Leonardo Marini. As a matter of fact, Mons. Vida held the diocese from 1533 to 1566 and he was its last Bishop without seminary, even though he was the one who organized its administrative apparatus and allocated funds and benefits. As for Mons. Marini, who had already been Lanciano’s Archbishop, he was one of the Council’s most zealous priests. He was sent to Alba (where he held the diocese between 1566 and 1572) by St. Pio V, who knew the city quite well, having stayed at the local convent of St. Domenico, of which he was prior from 1545 to 1547, during Mons. Vida’s episcopate. Additionally, Mons. Marini maintained a great friendship with St. Carlo Borromeo.

The Episcopal Seminary was officially established in 1567 by Mons. Leonardo Marini. Originally, it hosted 14 clerics (number that increased to 20 before construction had been completed). These data were acquired through Mons. Marini’s letters to the Archbishop St. Carlo, dated 1567: “Alba, 30 th March 1567 - … I have not found any cleric in this church: only treasurers were nominated for the seminary, I earlier appointed fourteen clerics, and then other two which makes it sixteen, and I hope to God that they will show themselves to be fruitful plants” (St. Carlo epistolary – Letters from Marini to St. Carlo – Ambrosiana Library 13 (25)). After a few months, he then continued: “Alba, 3 rd December 1567 - ...I have appointed priests about 20 clerics”. (therein – Ambrosiana Library 16 (31).

The Seminary of Alba was then one of the first to be established in Italy (and in the world), after those of Milan (1564), Rome (1565) and Turin (1566).

The original building was adjacent to the Bishop’s palace, as later stated by Mons. Paolo Brizio, Alba’s Bishop from 1642 to 1665. In 1658, he wrote the first seminary’s Regulation, which modernized clerics’ lives with a strong call to studying, spirituality and a righteous life.

Under the Carmelite Mons. Vasco’s control, who held the diocese between 1727 and 1750, the Seminary was expanded to accommodate over 100 clerics.

Mons. Virgilio Natta, Alba’s Bishop from 1750 to 1768 and later Cardinal, expanded the Seminary even further, ordering the construction of clerics’ rooms, a big refectory and a main hall.

It was with Bishop Mons. Giuseppe Maria Langosco di Stroppiana, who held the diocese between 1778 and 1788, that the building was completed – precisely a few months after his appointment – in 1778.

At the beginning of the 19 th century, the Seminary went through a period of serious decay, due to marauding and tampering. Alba’s diocese was suppressed and, in 1803, the Seminary’s possessions were transferred. Indeed, the Seminary itself was employed to host French military troops, who plundered it. A petition was sent to Napoleon for its reopening, which occurred in 1818. As for the renovation, it started in 1819.


The birth of the Religious Hospitality House: What we offer today

In 2014, the Seminary Management decided to allocate a small part of the buildings to a "Religious Hospitality House," providing accommodation for 25 people. Hospitality takes place in a portion of the second floor of the building: all rooms are equipped with ensuite bathrooms, hairdryers, TVs, and mosquito nets.

The rooms are divided as follows:

  • n. 14 single rooms
  • n. 2 double rooms with single beds
  • n. 2 double rooms
  • n. 1 triple room
From the entrance, guests can access the second floor via elevator or stairs, where, in addition to the rooms, they can enjoy a spacious common lounge and a small refreshment area. Here, you can find bottles of water and a pod machine that provides hot beverages. In the rooms, guests will find both bed linens and towels, as well as a small courtesy set (shower gel and soap). On the ground floor, you will find the breakfast room, the restaurant, the courtyard, the garden, the chapel, and the parking lot. Our staff, after recording personal data, will explain the procedures and provide the electronic key for entry into the Seminary: guests can then move around with total autonomy and without time restrictions. A large, free internal parking lot is available, with entrance at the rear of the building on Corso Michele Coppino, 43. The pedestrian entrance, instead, is at Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 1. Restaurant service can be booked: breakfast (continental buffet), lunch, dinner, half-board, or full-board.