From Pescara to the hermitages
From the modern city, through marvelous abbeys, huts of shepherds, rocks and woods you can reach the hermitages, evidence of a past in which the mountain was a place of great spirituality.
It starts from Pescara. The city, stretched on the coast, is the most important economic and commercial center of the region. It has an airport, a river port and a tourist port. It is an important holiday resort with its wide beach of fine sand and its well-equipped establishments located along the beautiful coast full of palm trees, pines, oleanders and tamarisks. In the historic center there are the Gabriele D'Annunzio's Casa Natale Museum, the Cascella Museum which preserves the works of Basilio Cascella and its descendants and the Fish Museum.
The first stage to be reached is the Abbey of Santa Maria Arabona. The Cistercian monastic complex, one of the few surviving examples of architecture inspired by the French Gothic style in Abruzzo, was founded in 1208 on the remains of a temple dedicated to the goddess Bona. The exterior has two rosettes, the interior is a Latin cross with three naves. The gothic tabernacle and the Easter candelabra are precious. With a slight detour it is advisable to stop and admire, in Manoppello, the Santuario del Volto Santo, destination of pilgrimages. In the church with three naves, the precious reliquary, above the high altar, houses a very thin veil on which the face of Jesus is portrayed. Returning to the state road you reach the Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria which is among the most important monuments of Italian Benedictine art. It was founded by Ludovico II in 871, the era of construction of the crypt that preserves Roman columns, while the other parts date back to the 12th century.
The facade is preceded by a portico with three large arches. The golden bronze door of the central entrance dates back to 1191. Inside, with three naves with a unique apse, stand out the beautiful ambo of 1180, the Easter candlestick, the rich four-column ciborium, the high altar made up of an early Christian sarcophagus that preserves a funerary marble case.
Passing through Scafa, nodal point, in the past, of the passage on the river Pescara, we begin to climb towards San Valentino, which became, by the monks of San Clemente a Casauria, a fortified center between the Maiella and the sea and, continuing, we reach Roccamorice. Roccamorice, a land of shepherds and hermits, perched on a triangular spur, a small town half-mountain, has characteristics such as to serve as an ideal starting point for rock climbing and hiking in the heart of the Majella.
About eight kilometers from Roccamorice you can reach the Hermitage of Santo Spirito a Majella, where Pietro Angeleri lived in solitude, then became Pope Celestino V, who established here the Mother House of his community. Today the hermitage consists of the Church, the sacristy, the guesthouse on two floors and five cells, as well as the Holy Scale entirely carved into the rock that leads to the Oratorio della Maddalena. The landscape surrounding this place, rich in woods, and a deep silence create an atmosphere full of charm and peace.
From Roccamorice, for those who want to leave the car or the motorbike, you can easily reach the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio with an easy path. A staircase carved into the rock awaits us in the last part of the route. It rises in the most arid part of the valley under a great natural rock ceiling. Originally dated before the year 1000, it was rebuilt in the thirteenth century by Pietro Angeleri.
Pescara, photo by RaBoe / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11863393
Km length: 94.2
Duration: 1 h, 57 min
Practical in: Autumn Winter Spring Summer
Starting point: Pescara
Arrival point: Roccamorice
Lunghezza Km: 94,2
Durata: 1 h, 57 min
Praticabile in: Autunno Inverno Primavera Estate
Punto di Partenza: Pescara
Punto di Arrivo: Roccamorice