This route enables you to experience the simplicity and spiritual detachment of a hermit who, in the MiddleAges, lived among the barren mountains and magnificent gorges of the Marche foothills. On the tour to the hermitage of Grottafucile there are no great variations in altitude and it is suitable for everyone. But it is necessary to wear shoes with good thick treads. The total absebce of water along the route means that it is essential to take a rucksack with a good supply of water, especially durino the hotter summer months.
Follow the track for about a kilometre untilyou reach a junction. Continue on footpath 108 towards the hermitage.
It is known locally also as the Hermitage of San Silvestro, from the name of the first monk who chose this place in 1227 for his life of prayer and meditation. A few remains on the building survive, including the wall with the north door of the church and the cistern excavated into the rock for collecting rain water. The monastery was very small, with various buildings and a small cloister. It was probably built on an old Roman or early medieval quarry. The rocky cliffs above it have many ravines and grottoes, dug partially by hand and used by the monks for their periods of isolation. The complex remained in use until 186.
This is the ancient castle of the Rovellone family and conserves its medieval form. The gate tower, the ravelin and the palatium date back to the time of a feud between the cities of Jesi and Fabriano.
Not to be misssed in this area:
It is suggested that you combine your excursion to Grattafucile with a visit to the Gtotto of the Blessed Virgin of Frasassi, which can be reached with a half hour walk.
The route on foot
Continue on foot along the paved footpath that climbs steeply for about five hundred metres until it reaches the entrance to the magnificent cave. This is one of the entrance to an importatnt karst cave complex which is about a kilometre and a half long and passes through the whole mountain. The other is the Grotta del Mezzogiorno
The hermitage of santa Maria infra Saxa.
Facing the entrance to the cave is the hermitage of Santa Maria , built against the rock and almosta a part of it. It dates back to 1000AD and was once part of a Benedectine nunnery built above in the Monte Ginguno. Entering the small church one has the feeling of reliving the silence at contemplation of the nuns who passed so many yaers here. A door on the left leads to the rock face, where there is a small tank for the collection of water percolating out of the mountain
The simplicity of bthe medieval building stands in contrast with the majestic neo-classical octagonal temple at the entrance of cave which Pope Leo XII of Genga commissioned Giuseppe Valadier to build in 1828. Inside is a copy of the Madonna with Child by the school of antonio Canova, the original of which is housed in the Museo di Arte Sacra a Genga.