Abbazia di Santo Spirito al Morrone
The Abbey of Santo Spirito al Morrone has been the most important and renowned settlement of the Celestine Congregation and the fulcrum of the cultural, religious and civil life of a vast territory for centuries. The monumental complex, which occupies an area of 16,600 square meters, is located only 5 km from the center of Sulmona in Badia, in the foothill band of the Morrone, a sacred territory since ancient times, close to Saint Onofrio ashram, friar Pietro’s favorite shelter with the massive sanctuary of Ercole Curino.Its origins are related to the figure of Pietro di Angelerio, a Benedictine monk, hermit, founder of the Order of the Celestines and Pope under the name of Celestino V. He probably began expanding the little church of Santa Maria from the first half of XIII century and then promoted the construction of a new church dedicated to the Holy Spirit with an annexed Monastery. In this site, the Mother House of the Order, will be established following the General Chapter which was held in June 1293. Throughout the centuries, the Abbey has undergone various stages of enlargement of which we still have beautiful testimonials, devastated by the catastrophical earthquake in 1706. The monks inhabited this complex until the Napoleonic law of 1806 suppressed all religious orders. As a result, the abbey was used in many different ways: first by the Royal College of the three Abruzzi, then as a workhouse, then it became a military district with a hospital; in 1868 it was converted into a prison house until 1993. In 1998 it was assigned to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities which in 2014 began restoration works, still in progress. Since 2014 it has been assigned to the Polo Museale of Abruzzo. At present it hosts the offices of the Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Abruzzo Superintendence and the National Park Authority of Majella. Today the Abbey looks like a magnificent, quadrangular shaped, monumental complex surrounded by colossal walls consisting of a massive 18th church and a monastery that is divided into five inner courtyards, three major and two minor.The Refectory can still be visited: a large room decorated with monochrome wall paintings completed by Friar Joseph Martinez between 1717 and 1719 and adorned with rich stucco.The Wedding of Cana and the Last Supper iconographies can be admired at the far end of this room; in the oval laterals there are scenes of the Old Testament and of the life of Saint Pietro Celestino, and there are also eight medallions that frame the symbolic figures of the virtues. Outside the stucco framework there are a series of Telamons which were once integrated with fine wood decors.The Refectory can be accessed through a monumental staircase consisting of two symmetrical staircases, one on the left and one on the right, made of the white stone of Majella, erected after the earthquake of 1706 to rectify the different floor levels that had been created. The 18th century church, currently in restoration, will be open to the public by the end of the year. In addition, guided tours, lectures, exhibitions and concerts are transforming the area of the abbey into a thriving culture center.
via Badia, 28
Monday-Friday 9.00-13.00; Saturday and Sunday open on request reservation at +39 0864 32849