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Hermitage of San Leonardo - Vallerano (VT)

Rock hermitage dug out of the tuff, it housed monastic, Benedictine communities, has environments for both liturgical use and for the processing of hemp.
It is located in "La Stufa", between the Cimini mountains on the crater of the Vico volcano, immersed in an environment characterized by centuries-old chestnut woods. Seen from the outside, the whole is very picturesque for the contrast of colors between the rock and the forest and for the presence of large windows. We underline the total absence of documentation as regards the complex and above all the church, of which, in reality, the dedication, which local tradition attributes to San Leonardo, is also unknown-
The rock complex is divided into three overlapping levels.
The highest level is outdoors and consists of the rounded top cap that continues in a staggered manner in the classroom of the church carved into the rock.
The cap has some superficial cavities and grooves engraved for the drainage of rainwater.
Some steps carved in stone descend to the rear apse of the church. Also accessible from the front entrance, the church has a single nave protected by two rock walls and the perfectly curved apse, carefully carved in the rocky bank of the cap. The ecclesial hall is separated from the presbytery by a step and stone cubes, perhaps what remains of an iconostasis. A rectangular-shaped rock tomb was once excavated in the naos which once had a covering stone. A staircase descends to the rooms below.
The main entrance to the residential area, which constitutes the most conspicuous part of the rock settlement, is on the southern slope. Two large rooms, separated by a tuff wall spared in the excavation, give access via steps to the other rooms distributed radially under rock.
A third level, the lowest one, is accessible via a path. The door is architraved and opens onto an interior divided into two by a square protrusion. It was perhaps the stable.
An elementary caution in the movements is required for the proximity of the steep cliff walls and unprotected openings.

Fis2, ChrisJ, ikeharel, pierrefonds, jhm, PiotrF has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 16822 W: 130 N: 34761] (192859)
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