Grotta di Sant'Angelo – San Donato di Ninea, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Grotta di Sant'Angelo

San Donato di Ninea, Italy

The ruins of a rural church and a statue of Archangel Gabriel are tucked away in Majella National Park.  


Not much is known about the history of this site. The scant ruins of a medieval structure suggest the existence of an ancient rural church inside one of the largest caves of the Sant’Angelo Canyon.

Like the nearby hermitages associated with Peter of Morrone, the hermit who became Pope Celestine V in the 13th-century, the site is an excellent example of Abruzzo’s rural and spectacular hermitages.

The intrepid adventurer who enters the canyon will discover a simple stone altar complete with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel. A copy of the original statue is on display at the Museo delle Genti d’Abruzzo in the city of Pescara. The statue shows remarkable similarities to the 13th-century statue from a church in nearby Caramanico Terme. This suggests a late medieval date for the original church.

The natural settings around the shrine are spectacular and are connected by several trails.

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January 26, 2021

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