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Hermitage of St. Michele di Pescocostanzo

Municipality: Pescocostanzo (AQ)

Locality: Strada Pedicagna, at about 1266 m a.s.l.

Building: It consists of two angle-arranged sections, it is to say a housing and worship area.
The last is placed into a cave; the front is closed by a wall with two entrances separated by a recess: on the right the funeral chapel of Ricciardelli family is placed, whereas the sanctuary can be accessed on the left.
On the portal's architrave an inscription reminds the 1598 renovation. On the inside, one is struck by the contrast between the rough rocky vault and the well connected stone plates.
The finely kneaded stone balaustrade – dividing the chancel from the area dedicated to the faithful – further enhances the ambiance. At the end of the cave, the stony altar is placed, once probably decorated with inlaid marble, according to the tradition of Pescocostanzo.
The housing area, developing on two levels, was in part used as a shelter for herders during the transhumance.

History and Traditions: Attested for the first time in a document of Lucius the 3rd in 1183, in 1536 the municipal statutes of Pescocostanzo report it as a laundry for women. Until the second world war two major feasts were celebrate here on the 8th of May and on the 29th of September. The pilgrims used to pick up a pebble in the cave and then kept it until the following year's feast. During the Second World War the cave was used as a refuge and military base. The cult of St. Michele was very important in pastoral culture. His figure of winner against dragons and monsters was always present in legends and venerated by the shepherds. In Abruzzo St. Michele usually appears within the places where Hercules was former revered, the last one being a symbol of strength and courage and being linked – as the archangel – to the cult of the water and to its therapeutic properties.

Reachable by: car or by paths L1 and L2

Visit information: Information Center at Pescocostanzo – Tel. +39.339.8629165

Image of the altar of the hermitage "St. Michele di Pescocostanzo"
Image of a detail of the hermitage "St. Michele di Pescocostanzo"
Image of the outside of the hermitage "St. Michele di Pescocostanzo"
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