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St. Onofrio del Morrone hermitage

Municipality: Sulmona (AQ).

Locality: Morrone, at about 620 m. a.s.l.

Building: A long terrace leads to the complex, restored after the last World War. The church has a rectangular-chamber basis with a fiftheenth-century wooden ceiling.
On the left wall at the top, there are two frescoes dating back to the fifteenth century and depicting Cristo Re e San Giovanni Battista. On the back wall the oldest part of the hermitage is placed: an arch on the left gives access to a small oratory, on the right a corridor leads to two small areas, identified as the cells of Pietro del Morrone and of Roberto da Salle.
The frescoes adorning the oratory – a Crocifissione (crucifixion), a Madonna con il Bambino (Virgin with the Child) and the busts of St. Mauro and St. Antonio on the sides of St. Benedetto – are traditionally attributed to Gentile da Rocca (second half of the 13th century), but recent studies cast doubt on this attribution.
On the left wall there is a picture of Pope Celestino V (14th century) represented in papal vestments and with the palm of martyrdom. Below the church there is the Grotta di Pietro (Pietro's cave) holding the intact imprint in the rock, which – according to tradition – is the place where Pietro used to rest.

History and tradition: The hermitage was almost certainly rebuilt – not founded – by Pietro del Morrone. According to his biographers, friar Pietro fix a cell above the monastery of St. Spirito at Sulmona and moved there in June 1293. In that occasion, the inhabitants of Sulmona and Pacentro bestowed on him honours and offered him gifts. Friar Pietro descended to the monastery of St. Spirito and celebrated a mass on an outdoor stage. In July 1294 the papal envoys clambered along the path leading from the monastery of St. Spirito and reached the hermitage to announce Pietro his election to the papacy. From the 14th century no traces can be found in the sources.

Reachable by: path S (Spirith Path)

Visit information: Information Center at Pacentro – Tel. +39.0864.41304 - +39.349.8474470

Image of a painting on St. Onofrio del Morrone hermitage
Image of St. Onofrio del Morrone hermitage
Image of inside of St. Onofrio del Morrone hermitage
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