This early monastic retreat on the eastern flanks of Monte Catria stands in one of the most breathtaking settings imaginable. Its beauty is derived as much from the intentional
poverty of the architecture as the magnificence of its proportions and the extraordinary size of the entire complex.
Founded in 980, visited by Dante in 1310, and once presided over by St Peter Damian, this is one of the few monasteries in the Marche which retains its medieval
monastic form. Guided tours take you to the extraordinary scriptorium. This was once an important centre for the production of illuminated manuscripts and
was built with an ingenious system to maximise the hall's natural lighting.
There is also the Dante Alighieri Library, with rows of rare Seicento books and, of course, the church, with a simple single aisle and a flight of wide steps up to a
raised presbytery. Beneath it, visit the crypt, supported by fine Romanesque arches, which is built with such finely cut stone that it seems almost as if the walls have been carved straight out of the rock.