Grotta San Michele

Chiesa rupestre di San Michele Arcangelo - Eremo di San Michele Arcangelo

Useful Information

Location: Pescocostanzo, L'Aquila, Abbruzzo
Open: No restrictions.
This is a catholic church, so it is open daily. Please respect worshipers and services, behave properly.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave. SubterraneaCave Church SubterraneaSt. Michael Caves
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: D=1,266 m asl
Guided tours:
Address: Municipio di Pescocostanzo, Tel: +39-0864-640003.
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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1183 first written mention in a Bull of Pope Lucio III.
16th century rebuilt.


The Grotta San Michele is a small cave church dedicated to the archangel St Michael. It is located north of the vilage Pescocostanzo on the other side of the valley. It is also called Chiesa rupestre di San Michele Arcangelo (rock church).

The former cave hermitage was transformed into a church in the 12th or 13th century. The origin as an hermitage is still visible at the side wall, where two rooms on different levels show the former living space of the hermit. Possibly this place was a temple dedicated to Hercules during Roman times. The place was dedicated to St Michael under the Lombards, as he was the patron of the Germanic people.

The cave potal is closed by a wall with two elegant Renaissance portals. The cave floor is paved with sqare stone slabs. The balustrade which closes the presbytery is made of local white stone. There is a niche with the statue of San Michele Arcangelo and a marble altar.

Two important feasts were celebrated here on 08-MAY and on 29-SEP, both related to the worship of Archangel St. Michael. The pilgrims picked up a pebble inside the cave and preserved it untill the following year. The feasts were abandoned in World War II, when the cave was used as a shelter and a military base because of its strategic position. As a result the place was partly destroyed and it was never restaurated.