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In the footsteps of Celestine V

Hiking in Abruzzo

In the footsteps of Celestine V (Hiking in Abruzzo)

This short trail leads to the hermitage of San Bartolomeo. We can park on the road by Macchie di Coco and take the path marked ‘S’ (Spirito), on the left of a dirt road (Trail 3 of the Park).

We then bear left at an iron cross, where the path narrows and after a few minutes leads to a lookout point over the San Bartolomeo valley.

Now we begin our descent, made easier by steps dug into the ground, and we reach the final, easy stretch at mid-slope.

From here, the trail continues through a passageway in the rock, leading to the natural balcony where the hermitage of San Bartolomeo was built in the mid-thirteenth century.

Almost in the centre of the balcony there are two staircases: the first is called ‘Scala Santa’ or ‘Holy Steps’.

On the façade we see two panels frescoed in the thirteenth century: a Madonna and Child, and a Christ in blessing.

Opposite we find the church with an altar and a niche which houses the statue of Saint Bartholomew. To the rear we see the small cell used by Pietro da Morrone, known to history as Pope Celestine V.

Inside the church, under a square stone, there is a small spring of healing properties, dedicated to the saint.

It is traditional to collected the water with a spoon and mix it with water from a spring on the right side of the Capo la Vena stream below. Every year, on 25 August, the hermitage welcomes pilgrims from neighbouring towns.

Unspoiled landscapes for all strides

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