Passions & Places

San Pietro sul Conero

Mount Conero and 
the Hermitage of San Pietro al Conero

Pliny "The Elder", while talking about Ancona in the 1st century, described the position of the town in relation to the promontory Cumero on which it leans as an elbow. 

In 1034, monks of Portonovo were given the land Cumana in that bay. Four years later, the monastery of St Peter was founded on the mount Conero. Villages of huts, localised on Mt Colombo - Southern avant-garde of Conero - is attributed to the Neolithic Age, about four thousand years ago. Great cataclysms happened contemporary to the invasions of the Barbarians and peoples from the East. In 1000, the names of places that resist still today were formed: Humana, Syrolo, the brook Buranacius which, going down from the mount, runs between the castles of Varanum and of Podium. On the slopes of the Mount Conero, from the North to the South, major inhabited centres are Poggio, Massignano, Sirolo and Numana. 

The story about three hermitages of the mount: St Mary of Portonovo, St Peter and St Benedict starts at the beginning of the 11th century.

The hermitage of San Pietro al Conero was built during the first years of the 1000 at the very top of the Mount Conero. It is said that in 1038 Ugo di Amezone, the Count of Osimo, donated the church to the abbot Giumenzone. 

The abbot had had also a field to be cultivated, a vineyard and a wood - to live in solitude and prayers. In 1558 the church was devastated in fire. In 1650 the Friars Camaldolesi gained the church and provided for its restoring and enlargement. The Spanish Father Luca described the Church as follows: “The ancient church of St Peter found here is so rich with art that it represents an example and the perfection of the ancient architecture." 

The Church of St Peter differs from the other one, St Mary of Portonovo, because of its form. Its beauty, however, even if retouched more than once, preserves its form of roman basilica with three naves, originally covered with round arches and groin vaults. The rectangular form and the walls are in limestone. Inside, 14 columns and marble and stone capitals, with differential designs, represent the real structural and artistic beauty of the sacral construction with decorative elements: leaves of acanthus, pine seeds, flowers and animals. 

The major altar is arisen on a step in front of a quadrangular chorus leaned on the crypt with 24 columns. In the centre of the crypt, eight octagonal columns with blunt capitals support the presbytery. The facade was restored in 1800. Decorations consist of small arches alternated with pillars and windows. Even the belfry, attached to the right aisle, shows a particular constructive line fixed in square stone base of the structure with bricks on the top, where four luxurious arches give particular luminosity to the inside of the belfry. Near the Church there is an ancient Benedictine Monastery, guestrooms, a well and a cistern for collecting rainwater. Today all has been transformed in an elegant and comfortable hotel, favourite target of tourists looking for peace and serenity, far away from the frenetic life of the town. In this paradisiacal environment it is still possible to breath healthy air and to enjoy immense beauties of nature among the sky, the mount and the sea which extends along the entire Adriatic coast to disappear into nothing.

  © 2001 Liberation Ventures Ltd.

 | Map  |  Print  |