Grotte di Sant'Anna Castelfidardo


Useful Information

Location: Castelfidardo.
(43.464795, 13.544578)
Open: Only after reservation.
[2021]
Fee: .
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaCellar
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Grotte di Sant'Anna Castelfidardo, 60022 Castelfidardo - AN, Tel: +39-071-7822987.
Assessorato Turismo e Cultura via C. Battisti 50 (ultimo piano), Referente dott. Renato Biondini, 60022 Castelfidardo - AN, Tel: +39-07178-29349. E-mail:
Associazione Turistica Pro-loco, Piazza della Repubblica, 6, 60022 Castelfidardo - AN, Tel: +39-0717-822987, Fax: +39-0717-823162. E-mail:
Informagiovani via Mazzini, 5, 60022 Castelfidardo - AN, Tel: +39-0717-808152 E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

06-DEC-1847 Palazzo Tomasi purchased Silvio Pellico, secretary and librarian of Palazzo Barolo, on behalf of the marquise Giulia di Barolo.
1850 sisters of Sant'Anna open elementary school in the building.
1855 cholera epidemic.
2015 caves opened to the public.

Description

Grotte di Sant'Anna Castelfidardo (Caves of Saint Anna) are located below the historic center of Castelfidardo. Although there is no way to prove this, the locals think that the caves were created during the 14th and 15th century as cellars. They were mostly used to store food, but also as warehouses, seasonal homes, and temporary shelters in times of danger. They also offered secret communication routes between the outside and the castle.

The caves are located below the Palazzo Tomasi and are thus also called Grotte di Palazzo Tomasini (Caves of Palazzo Tomasini). The building was erected in the 18th century and housed the Sisters of Sant'Anna since 1850, hence the name Grotte di Sant'Anna. The sisters came to elementary education free of charge to the children of the people. Until then only the girls from noble families received education from the Sisters of St Benedict. The new public elementary school was opened here at Castelfidardo by the marchesa di Barolo (Marquise of Barolo) Giulia Colbert. In 1855 there was the outbreak of a cholera epidemic, and nopbody offered assistance for fear of contagion. Only the sisters assisted the victims of the epidemic, under the tireless leader Venerable Mother Enrichetta Dominici, beatified in 1978. Until today the Palazzo Tomasini is the seat of the Sant'Anna Institute.

A strange detail is that the building was actually purchased on 06-DEC-1847 by Silvio Pellico, secretary and librarian of Palazzo Barolo, on behalf of the marquise Giulia di Barolo. He was a scholar, writer, and publisher of a journal which supported the unification of Italy and the fight against the hold of the Austrian Empire. As a result he was sentenced to death for treason in a political process, which was later commuted to fifteen years of jail in harsh condition by the Emperor. He served his sentence in the Spielberg, at Brünn (today's Brno). When he was released he was a broken man and the marchesa gave him the job as her secretary and librarian of Palazzo Barolo.

The underground structures were used by the sisters as cellars. In case of danger they were used as shelter, sometimes as communication route. They were even used as seasonal dwellings.

Castelfidardo has 51 underground passages, 27 in Montebello, 15 in Varugliano, and 9 in Cassero. Most are up to 25 m long tunnels with barrel vaults and side niches. The main tunnels are 1 m to 1.6 m wide and 1.5 m to 3 m high.