Napoleon Bonaparte and the city of Tolentino, Le Marche, Italy

It might seem strange to link Napoleon Bonaparte to the city of Tolentino, however Bonaparte touched the life of this city twice. As a young general Napoleon Bonaparte conducted the first Italian campaign successfully against the Austrians. As a result he eventually persuaded Pope Pius VI, who was aligned with the Austrians, to agree to a peace accord. The signing of this treaty took place in Tolentino on 19th. Continue reading

The Eremo di Soffiano in the Sibillini Mountains, Le Marche, Italy

Eremo di Soffiano in the Sibillini Mountains, Le Marche, Italy

The sign pointing to the Eremo di Soffiano in the Sibillini Mountains, Le Marche, Italy

While driving from Casa Carotondo to the Prati di Ragnolo (the meadows of Ragnolo) to look at the wild flowers and the views you will pass the Santuario di San Liberato. Shortly after that is a turning to the left with the signpost Eremo di Soffiano (the hermitage of Soffiano). You can park your car at the junction and take the easy walk to the hermitage. The path leads you into a steep valley with the river Terro flowing below. After about 30 minutes you will come across the remains of a cave that was used by Franciscan monks as a hermitage many centuries ago. Continue reading

The Grotta dei Frati in the Fiastra Valley, Le Marche, Italy

The Fiastra Valley in Le Marche, Italyas seen from the Grotta dei Frati.

The Fiastra Valley as seen from the Grotta dei Frati.

The Fiastrone river has its source high in the Sibillini Mountains. The valley the river flows through has a number of caves in it, some of which are still accessible today. These caves have served as places of refuge for people, in particular monks, over the centuries. I am not a religious person but the stories behind these cave hermitages seemed fascinating from the human point of view; that men were so bound up in their religious belief they were prepared to live a life of absolute poverty, in cold and discomfort and against the contemporary rulings of the Church. It is interesting to get an idea of how they lived by visiting the cave but also to have some background knowledge of the situation at the time. Continue reading