Abruzzo is a beautiful land of mountains and hillsides that has long been favored by religious men and women seeking an escape from the world while retaining the most beautiful surroundings possible. Abruzzo is peppered with monasteries and convents, and many are open for visitors and even travelers if you’re ready for a new style of lodging experience.
Visiting Religious Landmarks in Abruzzo
There are many monasteries with beautiful designs, artwork and locations in and around Abruzzo. If you’re heading out to see these landmarks, you should plan your day to see the most notable while leaving time to drive through the mountainous region with a few stops along the way just to enjoy the scenery.
The first monastery you should plan to visit is Convent of San Giuliano. This was the sometimes home of St. John of Capestrano and overlooks the town of L’Aquila. A large building, today it is home to only seven friars who care for the buildings as well as run a number of related establishments. Inside San Giuliano, you’ll find a small natural history museum, a library filled with ancient manuscripts, and a Baroque church complete with a large fresco.
From San Giuliano, make the mountainous drive to Fossa where you will find Convent of Sant’Angelo d’Ocre. Situated on a beautiful hillside, it is an ideal location for a picnic lunch followed by a tour of the frescoed cloister and refectory.
Drive on to Chieti where you’ll find San Giovanni in Venere. This is an ancient Benedictine monetary with an amazing façade as well as a terrific location. The buildings have stood since medieval times looming over a hillside with fantastic views of the sea. Go inside to see the sculpted marble columns of the cloister and the three naves of the medieval church.
Lodging in Monasteries
If you are traveling light and would like an alternative to hostels or inexpensive hotels, you may be able to lodge in a monastery. If you would like to try this form of lodging, you must plan in advance by calling well before your scheduled trip to arrange a room.
Be sure to discuss what your stay will entail as monasteries are still religious locations, not hotels. You will likely be given a single or double cell for the night or asked to stay in a dormitory. You may also be expected to conform to the rules of the religious location including attending mass, not speaking at certain times and limited fraternizing with friends. You might also be expected to bring your own sheets and towels.