di Grotta Fucile
Grotta Fucile is the famous birthplace of the
Benedictine congregation founded by Saint Sylvester Guzzolini, where the
Benedictine monks lived until 1450.
It is situated in the San Pietro quarter, close to the hamlet of Castelletta,
in the municipality of Fabriano.
Fucile is famous for being the birthplace of Saint Sylvester’s
Benedictine Congregation. As is known, St Sylvester Guzzolini chose it as
his first hermitage in 1227. “Hic erit requies mea – he said,
and – hic abitato”.
Count Conrad, who then owned various plots of land, including Castelletta,
had given the land to him. There, on top of the hamlet, he had a tower
built, though he usually resided in Rovellone’s castle. From there he
could dominate the whole surrounding area, spangled with his many feuds (Avoltore,
Serrasecca, S. Elia etc.). In 1315, thanks to the transfer made by the
abbot of Camaldolensian Benedictine monks of S. Urbano, Sylvester’s
monks who lived in that area were entrusted with the spiritual care of
Villa San Pietro, and then of the entire Castelletta Parish.
Due to the growing number of followers, St Sylvester was forced to
erect a new monastery (the current San Silvestro of Montefano in
Fabriano). However, Grotta Fucile was never completely abandoned, on the
contrary, St Sylvester had a small church and a monastery built on that
After the decades 1430 – 1440, owing to the reduction in the number of
hermit monks, the place was gradually abandoned. The church was kept in
good conditions, to allow the celebration of religious services until the
Napoleonic suppression of 1810.
Around mid 16th century there were signs of resumption of the
hermit life and Grotta Fucile became again a usual site for hermits. After
a century, however, the monastery began its inexorable decadence.
The church survived until the beginning of the 19th century, in
1810 Napoleon had the most valuable works removed from it. In 1818 bandits
broke the doors of the church and made a clean sweep of everything. The
church remains became a private property.
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