Construction started around 1150 and was completed around 1210. The church captivates with its spaciousness, beautiful, slim forms and shows the era of the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic architectural style.
The narthex (porch of the facade) and the bell tower were built in 1250. The floor plan, which is based on a basilica, shows unusual features for the architecture of the Cistercians: for example, the transept does not protrude on the side wings and the ships end in semicircular apses. In compliance with S. Bernardo’s strict rule, the only available decorations in ribbons consist of alternating red and white bricks, which mark the pillars, arches and ribs.
Around 1507 the church was restored and consecrated again. During this period, the chiaroscuro frescoes of the facade, the installation of the choir on a still visible elevation (today part of the choir is kept in the Turin City Museum), the pulpit in pure Burgundian Gothic and the wonderfully painted, from the German school Wooden sculptures from the end of the 15th century: the cross, Our Lady and the Evangelist John.
In the apse you can also admire Pascale Oddone’s polyptych made of carved multicolored wood (1531). On the outer wings are the Archangel Gabriel, St. Bernhard, the St. Virgin and saint Benedict depicted.