In the year 774, Charles the Great – who had recently been crowned King of the Lombards – found himself in a snow storm on the Umbrail mountain pass. He promised God that he would build a convent in the nearest village if he survived the storm. He did survive and he kept his word: construction of the convent was completed in the same century. Originally a monastery for men, it became a convent for Benedictine nuns in the 12th century and in 1983 the Convent of St. John was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Local nun and prioress Domenica Dethomas has been in charge of the convent since 2013.