Sanctuary of Santa Maria infra Saxa

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The hermitage of Santa Maria Infra Saxa is located in Genga ( in the province of Ancona – Italy ). The Hermitage , located at the entrance to the cave of the Blessed Virgin on the left side of the Frasassi gorge, The hermitage is mentioned for the first time in 1029 in the maps of the Abbey of San Vittore delle Chiuse, as a hermitage associated with the monastery of Benedictine nuns “Monasterium S. Mariae Bucca Sassorum”, located in the area of Monte Ginguno.

Sanctuary of Santa Maria infra Saxa It is an octagonal building in local travertine, covered with a lead roof, commissioned by Pope Leo XII (born in the castle of Genga), and completed by 1828. The design of the elegant temple is commonly referred to the architect Giuseppe Valadier , but the most recent researches have clarified, thanks to a rich and unpublished archive documentation, the true history of the building, defining its chronology and correcting its attribution.
It is characterized by a simple architecture, in stone whose interior is partly carved into the rock.

During the Christmas holidays a typical living nativity scene is held in this suggestive place.

Access : Coordinates: 43.4308, 12.936 / The Tempio del Valadier and the hermitage of Santa Maria infra saxa are located in the Marche region, in the province of Ancona /
the closest reference city is Genga, famous for its thermal baths and Frasassi caves. To get here, take the A14 and exit at Ancona Nord. Then merge onto the SS76 Ancona – Roma highway and exit at Genga – it takes about 25 minutes by car from the tollbooth.
/ Once you arrive at the Frasassi caves, to reach the temple of Valadier, take the road that continues from the caves towards the historic center of Genga. After about 2 Km you will see a sign on the right with the indications for the “Living Nativity”.
/ Once you have parked the car, you will notice a fairly steep street that after 800 meters of climbing will take you to the entrance door to the Temple.

Highlights :

  • The Tempio del Valadier and the hermitage of Santa Maria infra saxa are located in the Marche region, in the province of Ancona and the closest reference city is Genga, famous for its thermal baths and Frasassi caves..
  •  The temple of Valadier is a church in Genga, in the Marche region, which Pope Leo XII had built in 1828, based on a project drawn up by the architect Giuseppe Valadier.
  •  Inside the temple there was a marble statue of the Madonna and Child, the work of Antonio Canova’s workshop. Today the statue is exhibited at the Museum of Sacred Art of Genga and a copy has been inserted in its place.

The temple of Valadier and the Hermitage of Santa Maria Infa Saxa can be visited for free./ open all year round and accessible at all hours of the day.

Activities : photography, environmental interpretation, landscape observation / Scenic Driving- Auto Touring / Ancient Culture Study

Go next : the small village of Genga /  the Regional Park of Gola Rossa and Frassassi /  the Frassassi Caves /  the Abbey of San Vittore alle Chiuse and the castle of Perosara

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