Grotta dei Frati

Useful Information

Location: 62035 Fiastra MC.
(43.0748362, 13.2105452)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Grotta dei Frati, Strada Provinciale 48 Fiastra, Monastero, Podalla, Fiastra, Macerata, Marche, 62035,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1234 cave church built.


The Grotta dei Frati (Cave of the Friars, Cave of the Brothers) is a cave church located inside a natural cave on the northern side of the valley of the river Fiastrone. The river forms a narrow valley, at some point it is a slot canyon named Gole del Fiastrone. It is located at the border of two towns, while the cave belongs to Fiastra, the river gorge belongs to Cessapalombo. Both are actually not developed as a tourist site, nevertheless there are trails leading through the gorge and to the cave. In other words, these sites are open to the public, and may be reached on a nice half-day hike.

There are two starting points, one at the dam of Lago di Fiastra, the other near Monastero village, which belongs to Cessapalombo. At Monastero follow the single lane road to the graveyard, then follow the trail upstream When it reaches the river, cross it and walk uphill on the other side to the cave church. If you follow the road SP91 further through the valley of Fiume Fiastrone you will reach the dam. There is a car park, cross the dam, then follow the trail downstream. At some point, there are two alternatives. The upper offers nice views, while the lower crosses the gorge downstream. The first trail is the shortest, the last is the longest and most interesting. But be aware that the trail through the gorge requires wading through the river several times.

Grotta dei Frati was a cave hermitage. It was first used as a hermitage by Benedictine monks and then by Franciscans. There are actually two caves nearby. The cave church in the largest cave was built in 1234 and dedicated to the hermit San Egidio. The Franciscans later dedicated it to Santa Maria Maddalena de specu. They also built living quarters into the caves, and thus created a sort of cave monastery. In 1587, seven friars lived there.

There are numerous caves along the valley. The next from the cave church is called Grotta dei Partigiani (Partisan Cave) due to the fact that in 1944 some partisans of the Nicolò gang took refuge there. This area was the scene of several battles and roundups by the Nazi army during the retreat to the north. In nearby Montalto the Fascists killed 26 people from Tolentino.