Today I’ll talk about the Hermitage of San Girolamo, a small complex entirely excavated in a tephra rock mass that comes out from the ground. The place was home of Brother Girolamo Gabrielli who even if was born from a noble family of Siena, chose this area to retire in penance. With the purpose to devote his life to meditation and prayer, came here and with some workers excavated the lava rocks to obtain the hermitage. According to traditions, the hermitage afterwards was looted by a gang of criminals, who beat up the Saint. So Girolamo Gabrielli came back in Siena, after have given all his good to charity.
The hermitage is located in the wonderful beechwood of Fogliano Mountain, one the main height of the volcanic complex houses Vico Lake. The area is close to Vetralla, a small village of the Viterbo’s province. In fact, to reach the hermitage the easiest way is from Cura di Vetralla along the road that bring to San Martino al Cimino. The road is the same that leads you to the Convent of Sant’Angelo, and once you pass the convent, you’ll find on the right the path to the hermitage.
The trail requires almost twenty minutes of walk, but it’s worth because the path is entirely inside the secular beechwood. For the nature lovers this is a real dream; a wide natural territory full of high beeches, volcanic rocks and with some streams. The beachwood is a pleasure to see during all the year, even in winter, when the trees are bare and the ground is all covered by red leaves (if you go during this time, watch out at the leaves, because the ground becomes slippery).
The trail even if is uphill, it’s easy to walk and it ends on a slope where there is an isolated cluster of lava rocks partially covered by green vegetation, this is the hermitage of San Girolamo. There is only one room with few little openings like windows, and today it’s became a church that hosts occasional religious services. With few steps and a wooden walkway, you can enter in the church and climb on the plateau where you can see the beechwood from above. Here every year it’s celebrated the San Girolamo’s day on the first Sunday of July.
As you can see from the photos, this area is a real place of peace and it’s clear why San Girolamo chose this spot to retire and pray.
Good light to everyone