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The Saint Franco's hermitages

The Saint Franco's hermitages are some of the most beautiful and wildest holy places in Abruzzo. Saint Frank lived in three places during his solitary life: an hermitage near Assergi, a cave on a top of the Gran Sasso mountain and a cave on the Pizzo Cefalone mountain.

The Sain Frank's hermitage near Assergi

Up there, where not even the trees can grow, on Saint Franco's mountain, a solitary man lived for long time, long ago. That man was Saint Franco, who lived in a small stone chapel at an altitude of 1.730 metres.

Under the hermitage, a small river flows. The river has its rise just there, under the chapel. The legend tells that Saint Frank made the river flow from a rock, when his mother visited him and asked him some water to get refreshed.
That water, called "The Saint Franco's water", flows from there to San Pietro della Ienca, wetting the fountain of this village, which Pope John Paul II loved.
The people say that this water is miraculous: it can cure skin illnesses.
Every year, on 5th June, during Saint Franco Feast, many pilgrims climb up the mountain tracks from Assergi to drink the water and be cured of their illnesses.

Admiring the world from the Saint Franco's hermitage, with the heat of the sun, the perfume of the wind and listening the sweet singsong of the small river, it fills the soul with new life, merging with the nature and becoming one with it.

View from the Saint Frank's Hermitage

The Saint Franco's hermitage in the Cave of Peschioli

In addition to the hermitage near Assergi, which is more famous because it is more accessible, Saint Franco lived in two other places: the second one is the Cave of Peschioli.

The Cave of Peschioli is along the track leading to the Passo della Portella, at the top of the Gran Sasso mountain, at an altitude of 2260 meters. The cave is a small place (4 x 2,7 meters) and not very easy to reach. Inside, it is amazing: you can see "Saint Franco's pillow", a small rock where the Saint laid his head. The legend tells that you can be cured of a migraine, if you lay your head on it.
Near the stone pillow, there is a small hole, where the Saint put his breviary, before sleeping.
Before long, Saint Frank left this cave too, to live in another place further from the Assergi village.

The Cave of Peschioli (photo by Natura Grezza)

The Saint Franco's hermitage on the Pizzo Cefalone mountain

Up here, in a place that is not easy to reach during the summer and completely inaccessible during the winter because of the snow, Saint Franco came to live for the rest of his life, just under the top of the Pizzo Cefalone mountain, at an altitude of 2533 meters.
Up here, Saint Frank lived until the day of his death, when the cocks sang and the bells started ringing suddenly. In that day, a miraculous light guided the pilgrims to the Saint's cave. The Saint's body was brought to Assergi and was buried in the Saint Mary's Church in the village. There, you can still see it.

The Cave of Pizzo Cefalone is a small tunnel with holy imagines, small statues and a crèche built long ago by someone that loved the Saint.

Up here, where no creature can live and just the rocks listen to your thoughts, you can understand the meaning of the eternity...

A view of Pizzo Cefalone