Hermitage of Saint Onuphrius
A two-hour hike in the Orfento Valley leads to the remote ruins.
At about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level, the ruins of the small hermitage named after Saint Onuphrius provide a breathtaking view over the nature reserve of the Orfento Valley and the peaks of the Majella National Park.
This small stone structure, built like other hermitages in the region against the rock, still preserves some traces of wall painting and a general outline of its architectural plan. Devotees of Saint Onuphrius leave wooden crosses at the site. According to tradition, Saint Onuphrius was a fifth-century hermit who possessed no earthly goods and covered his body exclusively with his long hair and beard.
The history of this hermitage is uncertain, as it is not listed among the hermitages founded by the Pope and Hermit Celestine V. The site was already abandoned in the 19th century, and it was used as a shelter by travelers, farmers, shepherds, and even resistance fighters hiding from the German troops in World War II. Local lore also recounts the hermitage’s use as a burial site for those who died in the mountains.
Know Before You Go
A permit to hike the trails of the Valle dell'Orfento must be requested at the headquarters of the Nature Reserve in Caramanico Terme.
On the mountain cliffs above, there is another important heritage (Sant'Angelo all'Orfento), which can only be reached by a different trail.
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