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Hermitage St. Bartolomeo di Legio

Municipality: Roccamorice (PE)

Locality: St. Spirito Great Valley, at about 610 m of altitude

Building: It is placed on the mountainside, on the sunny slope of St. Spirito Great Valley, and it is built under a large rocky ledge about 50 m long.
It is reachable through two paths: the former, which comes down along the Giumentina Valley, shows the hermitage on the opposite mountainside, camouflaged in the rock; the latter, coming down from Roccamorice, ends with a short but striking tunnel carved in stone, which enters the walkway in front of the oratory. In the middle of the balcony there are two staircases: the former, which has 26 steps, is called ScalaSanta (the Holy Staircase), as the one present in the St. Spirito Hermitage. On the front of the small church there are two thirteenth-century frescos on boards. The right one represents the Virgin and Child, but it is almost entirely disappeared; the left one still shows the image of a Benedictory Christ with the book opened on the passage Ego sum lux mundi qui sequitur me non ambulat in tenebris (“I am the light of the world. Who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life”).
The oratory is about 8 m long and 3-4 m wide and it's almost entirely embedded in stone; above the fifteenth-century altar there's a niche holding a seventeenth-century wooden statue of St. Bartolomeo, depicted with a knife in his right hand and his leather bag on the shoulder, following the iconography of this Saint as imposed by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. A small door on the left of the altar leads to the housing area of the hermitage.

History and traditions: The hermitage was attested for the first time in the privilege of Gregorio the X in 1275, as a dependence of St. Spirito of Majella. Nonetheless, it already existed around the middle of the eleventh century, when friar Pietro del Morrone arrived on Maiella.
He rebuilt an hermitic place in ruins, adapting it to his needs. In 1320, the small hermitage of St. Bartolomeo was still inhabited, but during the twelfth century it was progressively abandoned: a destiny shared with St. Spirito of Majella. Inside the church, under a square stone leaning on the left wall, there's a small fount. The springing “St. Bartolomeo water” has a lot of miraculous properties and it's picked up with a spoon and mixed with the water from a fount on the right side of the Capo la Vena torrent, just below this place. The Saint's festival is on August 25 (even though the Roman Calendar scheduled this celebration on August  24), when a small statue is carried in procession to the parish church of Roccamorice, where it stays on for about a month.

Reachable by path: S (Spirit path – S path)

Visit information: Information Centre in St. Valentino A.C. and Visitor's Centre in Caramanico Terme – Tel. +39.085.922343Email: info@majambiente.it

Image of outdoor of "S. Bartolomeo in Legio"
Image of ondoor of "S. Bartolomeo in Legio"
Image of feast of "S. Bartolomeo in Legio"
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