Maja, the Eagle of Majella


hermitage of Saint Bartholomew

The hermitage

The Hermitage of San Bartolomeo is in the Majella National Park, between the small hamlets of Abbateggio and Roccamorice. It is a very impressive hermitage, placed on the rocky wall of the "Vallone dello Spirito" (Narrow Valley of the Spirit), crossed by the stream Capo La Vena.

The oratory of the hermitage is almost entirely hollowed out in the rock. Furthermore, we can find also a sixteenth-century altar with a niche, containing the nineteenth-century wooden statue representing the saint.

Each 25th of August, the hamlet of Roccamorice celebrates St. Bartholomew and on this occasion, its inhabitants walk in procession, bringing the statue of the saint from the Hermitage until the church of the village.

Near the stream, there is the Sorgente del Catenaccio (Spring of Catenaccio), whose name derives from the peculiar shape that reminds the iron lock of a door. According to folk tradition, its shape is due to the fact that during a torrid summer, a hermit flung the lock of the hermitage main door, given in to despair because of the lack of water. The strong impact of the lock left the print into the rock, from which flew miraculously a trickle of fresh and pure water that never stopped to flow until today.


The original nucleus of the hermitage dates back to the 6th century, on which in the same period, was added a chapel dedicated to San Bartolomeo, a cult introduced on the Majella by hermits, arrived from Sicily after the Arab occupation.

Pietro da Morrone, the future Pope Celestine V, brought it to its current dimension and appearance, then restored the hermitage around 1250.

Pietro da Morrone lived there around two years, and he left forcedly the Hermitage of Santo Spirito because of the increasing number of pilgrims. From 1274 to 1276, Pietro collected his thoughts in prayer, but his growing fame attracted even here thousands of believers, despite the rough and difficult access. The future pope decided so to move to the then impassable Orfento Valley, more precisely the Hermitage of San Giovanni.

Over the years, the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo was used as an annex to the Hermitage of Santo Spirito, placed upstream.

How to reach it

The most comfortable path to reach the hermitage is the road from Roccamorice to Blockhouse. Alter 4 kms from Roccamorice, follow the road signs to ‘Eremo di Santo Spirito’ and after 100 mts, on the right you will find the road sign to the ‘Eremo di San Bartolomeo’. Park your car and walk about half an hour to reach the hermitage.

A second possible path start from the ‘Valle Giumentina’. From our farm stay, follow the road signs to San Valentino-Caramanico and after few kilometers, on your left you will find the road sign to ‘Valle Giumentina-EcoMuseo del Paleolitico’ (Giumentina Valley, Echo Museum of the Palaeolithic). Turn left and once arrived at the visible EcoMuseo, if you do not drive an off-road vehicle or a special car for rough roads, it is advisable to park the car before the EcoMuseo. Walk on the path next to the Museum until the sign of the Eremo di San Bartolomeo.

Google Maps

Coordinates: 42° 10′ 55.46″ N, 14° 2′ 17.81″ E

For guided excursions to the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo visit the web-site Majellando.

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