The ancient monastery set in rock
The Majella, the great massif of the Abruzzo Apennines standing on the border between the provinces of Chieti, L’Aquila and Pescara, is home to one of Italy’s most picturesque hermitages, an ancient monastery set in rock. The Santo Spirito Hermitage rises 1,130 metres above sea level and is the result of transformations over centuries, perhaps since the year 1000.
The monastery complex, accessible on foot or by car from Roccamorice, today consists of the church, sacristy and the remains of the monastery on two floors. Below the small church, you can visit the oldest part of the hermitage, the room of the Crucifix, and admire ancient traces of frescoes. Nearby, after passing through a narrow corridor carved into the rock, you reach the guest quarters, known as the Prince’s House, built on three floors and dating to the second half of the 17th century. Next to the guesthouse, 31 steps forming the Scala Santa take you to the Oratory of St Mary Magdalene.
Once a destination for numerous pilgrims, today the Hermitage comes alive especially on the occasion of the commemoration of the beheading of St John the Baptist. If you are at the shrine on 29th August, you can attend the Rite of Forgiveness, during which those present confess and obtain a plenary indulgence.