As you surely know, in Italy there are many churches with an incredible history and architecture. However, did you know that there are also some churches that are built in the rock?
Today I’d like to talk about some of these churches that can visit while you’re in Italy.
Eremo di San Colombano
Eremo di San Colombano is an Italian hermitage located in Trambileno, in the Trentino region, and stands 120 meters above the ground.
According to the legend, San Colombano arrived in Trambileno to defeat a dragon that killed baptized children. Once he defeated it, he built the “Grotta degli Eremiti”, “Cave of the Hermits”.
Years later, the hermits built a church set in the rock and they guarded it until 1782, when the practice of the hermitage was abolished.
In recent years, precisely in 1996, the province of Trento restored the churched and opened it to the public.
You can reach the church after climbing a staircase of 102 steps. In it you can find many frescoes, some of them depicting the defeat of the dragon at the hands of San Colombano, some others representing the saints and Paradise.
Santuario Eremo di Greccio
Santuario Eremo di Greccio is an Italian sanctuary located in the town of Greccio, in the Lazio region and it is one of the four shrines erected by St. Francis.
According to the legend, the Sanctuary is in that position because St. Francis decided to choose the place to settle in a very peculiar way. He asked a child to throw a burning ember, and he decided to settle in the exact spot where the ember ended its run.
In 1223, in December, Saint Francis organized a re-enactment with living characters of the birth of Christ in the cave where he had settled. Legend says that that night, the child, the only non-living character of the whole re-enactment, came to life for a while and then returned inanimate.
Right after 1223 a small community of followers of the saint decided to establish in Greccio and build some buildings, among which a monastery, in the same spot of the re-enactment.
Some years later, a church was built in the rock and was named Church of Saint Francis.
In the church and in the monastery, you can see many frescos and paintings from the 13th to the 15th century.
Have you already visited some Italian churches built in the rock? What do you think about them?
Original image by Fogster