A land of Hermitages
In medieval times, gorges and caves, once the setting for ancient Italic religious ceremonies, were transformed into a multitude of hermitages, sanctuaries, and solitary chapels, imbued with mysticism and often difficult to reach due to their geographical location. The hermitages are perfectly set into the landscape, and the enchanting vision they offer rewards those who travel the difficult path to reach them.
The Hermitage of Santo Spirito a Majella
near Roccamorice (Pescara), is an unusual building amongst the rocks that perfectly blends its architectural elements with the beauty of the landscape.
Its origins date back to 1244. This was the place where Pope Celestine V initially made his home in the Majella mountains.
The Hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio
near Roccamorice (Pescara), clings to the rock wall that, when seen from afar, reveals a striking number of colours and grottoes. It is reached by means of a path. In the river in the valley, there is always drinkable water in the little well called the fonte catenaccio, or “latch fountain”, even in the driest periods of summer. Its waters are said to have had miraculous powers.
Sant’Onofrio al Morrone
is another hermitage that Pope Celestine V had built. It was made a national monument in 1902 and is located on the slopes of the mountain by the same name near Sulmona (L'Aquila). Dating to the thirteenth century, it preserves the memory of Pietro Angelerio (Pietro da Morrone), the solitary monk who lived there and became Pope in 1294 as Celestine V and was later canonized. It can be reached by means of a steep but easily walked path leading from the hamlet of Badia to the eastern edge of the Peligna Valley to a height of 620 metres where the hermitage is located.
Hermitage/Grotto of San Giovanni all’Orfento Majella
This is one of those places that leaves you speechless in wonder. It's found on the Majella massif in the municipality of Caramanico Terme (Pescara), at about 1,230 meters above sea level. It is said that Pietro da Morrone, the future Pope Celestine V, withdrew here to escape the clamor of the many faithful who followed and venerated him in the nearby hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio. As in many parts of the Majella and the Morrone, we can see the mark left by this man living in symbiosis with nature; the techniques for storing the water that filtered through the rock are impressive. Today the hermitage is composed of three small rooms. The unusual entrance is through a walkway carved into the rock, at the end of which visitors will have to crawl beneath the protruding rock.