Italy TravelTemple of Valadier: Le Marche’s Hidden Church

Temple of Valadier: Le Marche’s Hidden Church
Published on Monday, May 16, 2016 by

marche-church-skiwalker79Tucked away inside the Frasassi Caves like a pearl in an oyster, the Temple of Valadier may well be one of the hardest churches to get to in Italy, but also the one with the best view from its entrance. The Frasassi Caves are located in the town of Genga, in the Le Marche region, and are a popular site with visitors, but few make the steep one-mile trek through the mountains to the church. Those who do, however, are rewarded with panoramic, spectacular mountain views and a sense of peace.

Perhaps better known as the Refuge of Sinners, the tiny church was built in the neoclassical style in 1828 by architect Giuseppe Valadier and was commissioned by Pope Leo XII. True to its name, the church is a pilgrimage destination for people wanting forgiveness. The church’s exterior has an octagonal shape, stone walls, and a domed roof, while the interior has sparse decorations, painted white walls, and pews arranged in a circle surrounding an altar in the center. Because it is sheltered underneath a rocky overhang, the church has been perfectly preserved and is in excellent condition.

Locals have known about the secret cave since at least the 10th century, when they would hide out from invaders, including enemy tribes from what is now Hungary. While constructing the church, workers unearthed several artifacts from the Bronze Age, including ovens, coins, and human bones, indicating that this site has been as a sanctuary for more than 1,000 years.


By Kathy McCabe

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Photo by skiwalker79,

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