We present spectroscopic VLT/UVES observations of two emerging supernovae, the Type Ia SN 2001el and the Type II SN 2003hn, in the spiral galaxy NGC 1448. Our high resolution and high signal-to-noise spectra display atomic lines of Ca II, Na I, Ti II and K I in the host galaxy. In the line of sight towards SN 2001el, we also detect over a dozen diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) within NGC 1448. These DIBs have strengths comparable to low reddening galactic lines of sight, albeit with some variations. In particular, a good match is found with the line of sight towards the sigma type diffuse cloud (HD 144217). The DIBs towards SN 2003hn are significantly weaker, and this line of sight has also lower sodium column density. The DIB central velocities show that the DIBs towards SN 2001el are closely related to the strongest interstellar Ca II and Na I components, indicating that the DIBs are preferentially produced in the same cloud. The ratio of the lambda5797 and lambda5780 DIB strengths (r similar to 0.14) suggests a rather strong UV field in the DIB environment towards SN 2001el. We also note that the extinction estimates obtained from the sodium lines using multiple line fitting agree with reddening estimates based on the colors of the Type Ia SN 2001el.