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L'EREMO DI SAN GIOVANNI ALL'ORFENTO (THE HERMITAGE OF SAINT JOHN)

Hermitage of Saint John

The hermitage

The Eremo di San Giovanni is located on a rocky wall of the Orfento Valley Nature Reserve, in the Majella National Park. The hermitage was originally a small cave, then enlarged and adapted to residential use.

To access the hermitage, after a relatively long path, you have to climb up a staircase carved into the rock that leads to a spectacular walk, at the end of which a shrinking of the passage makes it hard to access the cultural building: you have to crawl for the last 3 meters having a precipice to your right. This is also what makes the hermitage so impressive.

The first room you encounter once you go inside has a rectangular shape and has 2 small niches carved into the rock of the left wall, while at the bottom there is the entrance to an oratory with an altar and a tabernacle. There is also an interesting water system excavated in the rock, which conveys the rain water and the water exuded by the rocks that, after a decantation process, is collected in a tank with a capacity of 700 liters.

History

Pietro da Morrone, future Pope Celestine V, resided in the hermitage of St. Bartholomew. Because of the large number of faithful who visited him to worship him, he decided to retire to a more isolated and peaceful place. He found this place in the present eremo di San Giovanni. For almost 9 years, Pietro da Morrone, along with a few disciples, lived a completely isolated life. After the period of profound, solitary meditation in the Orfento Valley, he retired in 1293 in the hermitage of Sant'Onofrio al Morrone.

It is not possible to determine whether Pietro da Morrone reconstructed the eremo di San Giovanni or if he only restored it.

How to reach it

The Eremo di San Giovanni is located on the Sentiero dello Spirito (Spirit Trail - S) of the Majella National Park. You have to reach Piana Grande, from Valle Giumentina, following the signs before (if you started from our farm stay) the intersection of Abbateggio, Roccamorice, San Valentino and Caramanico. After passing the Ecomuseo del Paleolitico, continue (path B1) until you reach a bar. From here you can go straight to the path of the spirit and after 40 minutes, passing near a precipice, you reach the hermitage. Otherwise you can go on a short stretch of path B1 and then follow the Sentiero dello Spirito on your right. You will reach the hermitage after 20 minutes. These paths reunite, so you can choose any of them.

Google Maps

Coordinates: 42° 9′ 14.09″ N, 14° 4′ 50.51″ E

In order to enter the area of the hermitage you must request free authorization at the Centro Visite (Visitor Center) of Caramanico Terme.

For guided tours of the eremo di San Giovanni all'Orfento please visit: Majellando