• Eremo San Spirito a Majella
• Eremo San Bartolomeo in Legio
• Abbey of Santa Maria d’Arabona
• Abbey of San Liberatore a Majella
• Chiesa dei Santi Valentino e Damiano
They are not easy to get to using public transport, so going there with a knowledgeable guide like Daniele is the ideal way to visit them.
Daniele picked us up after lunch outside our rented apartment in Montesilvano. First we came to the Cistercian abbey of Santa Maria d’Arabona in Manoppello.
|Rose window in Santa Maria d'Arabona|
|Lily pond outside Santa Maria d'Arabona|
|San Liberatore in Serramonacesca|
|Mosaic floor of San Liberatore|
|Ancient Rock Tombs behind San Liberatore|
Chiesa dei Santi Valentino e Damiano
The striking church of Saints Valentino and Damiano with its twin belltowers is in the gorgeous hill town of San Valentino. The church, which was built from stone from the Majella in the second half of the 18th century, was designed by the noted architect Luigi Vanvitelli, who also designed the palace at Caserta near Naples. In front of the church, between the two flights of steps which lead to its door, is the lovely Fountain of Sansone.
|Chiesa dei Santi Valentino e Damiano|
Eremo San Spirito a Majella
The picturesque hermitage of Eremo Santo Spirito is immersed in the fabulous scenery of the Majella Mountains. Unfortunately it was closed when we got there. Had it been open we would have been able to see a simple church, sacristy, monastic complex, chapter hall, library, winter chapel and refectory. Celestine V lived there from 1274 to 1276 before he became Pope. With a car you can drive to within 100 metres of this hermitage.
|Eremo San Spirito|
Eremo San Bartolomeo in Legio
We had a very enjoyable half hour walk through the Majella National Park on the way to the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo, which was the highlight of our trip. It is in an isolated spot but the walk there is not too difficult and the landscape is absolutely stunning.
|Majella National Park|
The hermitages rises beneath a rocky spur that covers it completely. The refuge itself can also be reached from the other side by a 'sacred staircase'. The only furnishings inside are the simple altar holding a statue of Saint Bartolomeo and a few wooden chairs along the side walls.
|Eremo San Bartolomeo|
|Sacred Stairs Eremo San Bartolomeo|
(John took these two photographs with his mobile phone.)
For more information about this hermitage, go to Sammy's blog www.lifeinabruzzo.com where she wrote a superb detailed account of her visit to the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo. Noel from www.abruzzo.com added exquisite close-up photos of the wildflowers and butterflies that he took the time to photograph along the way in his post entitled 'A Sanctuary in the Majella'.We ended the day with delicious dinner in Osteria Belvedere in Roccamorice. Passing through that town in the evening we could see many of the townspeople out on the streets, chatting and eating together at outdoor cafés and restaurants in a warm, lively atmosphere. It was beautifully lit up and was the kind of town that I'd like to spend more time in, to return to in order to get to know it better...
Last year we took other great tours with our excellent guide Daniele. I wrote about them here:
Journey to San Giovanni in Venere Abbey, Abruzzo
Trabocco Punta Torre, Abruzzo Coast
Cookout in Campo Imperatore
Spellbinding Santo Stefano di Sessanio