Guadagnolo and Mentorella shrine: a bridge between land and sky

Our Blogger: Arianna

I know maybe you are now thinking I’m a vagabond because every time that I write something it’s regarding a village or area around Lazio region but it’s only because there is a lot to see in this marvellous zone which has been inhabited from roman.

guada2 Today we’ll visit together the highest village in Lazio where there’s too the oldest sanctuary in Italy: the shrine of Mentorella where it’s also located the cavern where Saint Benedict used to live.

Guadagnolo rises on a rock at 1218 m on sea level and today only 28 people live there. The picturesque landscape is characterized for a lot of botanical life . Many of this plants are rare and it’s possible to see them only here. In fact, this is an ecosystem that should be protected..

I went to Guadagnolo something like a year and an half ago and I really enjoyed the day. I have to say that the weather was still good and during the trip I saw a lot of cows that were eating the fresh grass all around.guada3

Once arrived on the top of the mountain two things caught my eyes: the magnificent  statue of the Redeemer and the few local people. The Redeemer statue is located on the highest point of the region. The first statue built with the local rock was built in 1903 but after several obstacles due to the material used. In 1976 the rest of the old statue had been removed and a new one in bronze it’s now looking at the valley.

From Guadagnolo it’s easy to reach Mentorella sanctuary. Only 10 minutes driving. Here you can go inside the S. Benedict’s rock and see the mountains that Jean Paul II loved so much.

I’d like to share with you some interesting facts about this wonderful village.

The legend says that Placid, a rich roman person who lived under Traian’s emperor, used to hunt animals in the area around Guadagnolo. One day he was hunting a deer who sheltered on one of the highest rocks. when Placid was about to catch his prey, looking at it he was dazzled by a big light that came from the space between the two horns of the deer. On this light, Placid saw Jesus’ face and back in Rome converted all this family to Christianity and changed his name to Eustace. Then persecuted by the imperator was killed by him.

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This is only a legend and still the notice about the foundation of the sanctuary it’s not very precise. What we know for sure is that Saint Benedict stayed in a cavern living as anchoret for more or less two years.

It’s still possible to see the cavern, the rules to allow entrance are strict but the atmosphere inside is suggestive. Another interesting fact about the cavern is that before you go in there, there is glass shrine which contains bones from the oldest friars.

Pope Jean Paul II who enjoyed very much the life in the mountains fell famously in love with this valley.

What else to say? Enjoy your holidays with a us at Hotel des Artistes and then spend a day of peace and love at Guadagnolo.

Wait! I Forgot to tell you about the marvellous cheese! Very particular from the area and from the residential people that still live with sheep farming. Don’t forget to taste it if you ever visit Guadagnolo!