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St. Michael's Cave (La Grotta di San Michele)

how to get there:

  • Leave the Roma - Firenze motorway at the exit "Fiano Romano"
  • Take the road to Passo Corese and then the 313 until the crossroad for Poggio Catino.
  • From Poggio Catino take the road that goes up the mountain. After about 15 minutes you will reach a small bridge and a parking area.

From here there is a path which, after about 15 minutes walking, leads to St. Michael's Cave.

St. Michael's Cave is situated in the district of Monte S. Giovanni in Sabina. To find out more about this area, see the page for Monte S. Giovanni in Sabina.

St Michael's Cave is a small cave chapel surrounded by the forests of Mount Tancia. It is thought that originally it was sacred to the goddess Vacuna, the Sabine goddess of the waters and the forests, in fact there was a female figure sculpted from a stalactite in the cave, which disappeared about thirty years ago.

The christianization of the cave is closely tied to a legend which tells how, in the fourth century, the surrounding area was devastated by a dragon living in the cave. Pope Silvestro, praying one night on the nearby Mount Soratte, saw two angels accompanied by thunder and lightning descend from the sky and defeat the dragon. On the eighth of march he went to the cave together with a huge crowd and dedicated it to St. Michael. In the following centuries a monastery was erected close by the cave.

Inside the cave, which is reached from a series of steps, there is an altar, a ciborium and several frescos including an Agnus Dei, one of the Virgin Mary and another of the Archangel Michael.

From the same path that leads to St Michael's Cave other marked paths lead towards the summit of Mount Pizzuto and Mount Tancia.

Every year, in May, the inhabitants of Roccantica make a pilgrimage to St Michael's Cave.



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