The monastery of Fonte Avellana is dedicated to the Holy Cross and is located at 700 metres above sea level in Serra Sant’Abbondio, a lovely town in the province of Pesaro Urbino in Le Marche region. This impressive complex rises on the slopes of the Catria Mount and is surrounded by pastures and fields, that create the perfect background for this unique place of peace and meditation.
Some historical facts
Its origins are linked to the history of the Camaldolese Congregation and date back to the end of the X century, around the 980, when some hermits chose to built there the first cells of the hermitage. The founder was probably Saint Romualdo, then Saint Pier Damiani supported the structural, cultural and spiritual development of this place. Instead of the original cells, consisting of huts scattered around a chapel, many stone buildings arose such as the cloister, the church with its crypt, the Chapter meeting room, the beautiful scriptorium, the guesthouse an the library, all around the massive bell tower. According to tradition, in the hermitage lived 76 Saints and Beatified people; even the great poet Dante Alighieri, that mentions this place in one of his canto, was a guest here. On the occasion of the celebrations for the thousandth anniversary of the monastery founding in September the 5th 1982, Pope Giovanni Paolo II visited Fonte Avellana. Although in the past there have been some periods of abolition, at present the complex is inhabited by the Camaldolese monks, who preserve its spiritual and architectural splendor.
It is possible to visit some areas of the monastery joining a guided tour (compulsory) starting every 30 minutes from the main entrance. If your group counts more than 10 people you’d need to book your visit in advance; you can do this by email (email@example.com) or by phone (+39 721.730261 from 10,00 to 12,00 am). Among the rooms that you could admire there’s the room of San Giovanni da Lodi and the scriptorium of the XII century, one of the few still original which survived the bombardments and seismic phenomena. Here the amanuensis, taking advantage of the sunlight throughout the day, they copied the ancient Greek and Latin classical texts enriching them with miniatures. The historical library was set up in 1733 and consists of about 25,000 volumes. Other accessible places are the cloister, the Chapter meeting room, where the monastic chapter gathered and the crypt, the most ancient part of Fonte Avellana and early church of the hermitage. Think that inside the crypt temperature always keep between 15 and 22 degrees all year long, even when it’s snowing outside! From the crypt you can enter the cathedral with the choir and the chapel of the Cross. The cathedral was first consecrated in 1197, it is built in the shape of Latin cross in Romanesque style with a single nave. From 2007 also the botanical garden of the monastery has been opened to public.
As all monasteries, Fonte Avellana is isolated and immersed in the nature. During spring and summer it is perfect to relax and have a picnic, actually there’s an apposite equipped area with tables and benches. Otherwise, you can find a bar with restaurant service, but you’ll need to book in advance. If you love travelling by camper, you should know that there’s a wide car park where you can safely stop. Once you completed the visit of the monastery and had a rest, I suggest you a long walk among the marked paths of the area, you’ll find some maps also in the bar of the hermitage. Obviously, you cannot miss the excellent products made by the monks that can be bought at the ancient chemist’s. Try the pine bud candies, they’re my favourite ever 🙂
The landscape of Fonte Avellana is amazing in every season, but if you decide to visit it in winter pay attention to snow…you’ll probably find it by this period!
And while you’re at it, you can extend your tour a bit and stop in one of the lovely cities in the immediate vicinities such as Cagli, Pergola or Acqualagna.
To enjoy your stay in Le Marche and experience local habits and traditions of this territory, I suggest you these three villas, equipped with every comfort.
Are you ready to leave?
Villa Colombaia – Acqualagna (PU)
Villa Design – Pergola (PU)
Casa Maria – Cagli (PU)