was the year 1000 AD and men began to seek after a voluntary isolation
from the world. They penetrated in thick woods, and suffering lots of
difficulties they erected the first hermitages. They are scattered
throughout Le Marche as a religious path to follow The places are well
preserved, and even though they are out of easy reach are worth seeing.
Years of desolation and uncontrolled changes of Nature have made these
isolated places seem no more human doings, but part of Nature itself.
rock perched hermitage of Grottafucile, near Fabriano has a stunning
view over “Gola Rossa” (Red Gorge). It is also beautifully
surrounded by Frasassi mountains and by a large Natural Preserve. The
hermitage, a convent, is built on the cave where San Silvestro lived in
solitude in 1200. Not much of the façade is left. Some traces of the
small cells where the monk lived are anyway detectable. Among the ruins
it is possible to see the ancient tank that San Silvestro himself wanted
so as to provide water to the inhabitants of the convent. Unfortunately,
though, weeds and brambles are covering everything by now.
Ascoli Piceno, we find the Eremo San Marco. It
is reachable through steep paths lined by chestnuts and firs. There Cistercians
monks lived in the thirteenth century. The façade boasts two orders of
mullioned windows. The ground floor is enriched by a barrel vault
Eustachio hermitage in Domora is, as well, nearly overwhelmed by the
same element that first attracted people there: Nature. There in fact
hermits excavated caves from the rocky mountains. A little church was
also obtained from the mountain. It was then renovated following the
Gothic fashion in the thirteenth century. It is a wonder to see the
white little chapel stand out from the mountain.
dell’Acquarella -not very far from Albacina- and its little church
dedicated to Holy Mary had great importance. Legend had in fact that it
was founded by San Romualdo and that the first council of Capuchin monks
was held there in 1529. What we know for real is that the place was
chosen by monks since the first half of 1300. What is now left of the
hermitage is not the original building. What is still standing dates in
fact back to 1400. At the end of 1500 monks abandoned the place that
became shelter for few hermits, and, according to 1800 evidence, for
Marche boast a large collection of places excavated from the rocks of
the mountains by men in search of a closer dialogue with God (Eremo di
San Girolamo on Cucco mountain, Santa Maria in Sasso Valley, Eremo di
Santa Maria di Valcora, Cave of San Vittorino in Pioraco, Romita on
Gemmo Mountain in Matelica, Eremo di san Bartolomero delle Carceri in
Sefro and San Pietro in Esanatoglia).
and the steep cliffs these places so respectful of Nature are coming
back to be part of it due to the negligence
of men themselves.