Here we are (already!!) again ready with the FAI days. On time as every Spring and Autumn, the FAI allows visitors to discover hidden places all around the peninsula. This time we are going to introduce you to the Hermitage “Eremo di San Marco”, in Ascoli Piceno, which Isabelle visited in 2018. She included the tour to the Eremo as a part of the visit to Ascoli Piceno, a beautiful city indeed. This is what she writes about it:
To start with, you should park in the Piagge District of Ascoli at the San Bartolomeo church and then walk up to the cemetery. Be careful!!! As deceiving as it may be, the Church of San Bartolomeo is also called San Michele!! A very important hint, indeed!
After the first difficult recognisable hint, the sign then leads to the majestic monastery, which seems to be embedded in the rock. The question that comes up in everyone’s mind is the same: how did they manage to build it? The monks that used to live there were the Cistercians, a religious order dedicated to prayer, reading and work; they founded the hermitage in the 13th century in front of a cave’s entrance. The cave was the perfect place for a hermitage to be built, because of its remoteness and difficult to be reached. I personally think this is something that every hermitage has, just think about the Eremo dei Frati Bianchi in Cupramontana!
In 1387, however, the reigning bishop Antonio Archeoni banned the Order and made an aristocratic family, the Scariglia, owner of the Eremo. The family converted the monastery into a church, erected the tower and the built a large staircase to get to the Hermitage. The hermitage eventually lost its importance, when the Church of San Bartolomeo (or San Michele) was built. Finally, it got back to the Ascoli Piceno municipality.
Unfortunately, Isabelle could not visit the hermitage from the inside, as restoration work was being carried out at the time. But the visit would have been worthwhile in any case, she says. Just because of the spectacular location and the view!