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Excursion to the hermitage of San Marco

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Today I want to offer a brief but intense excursion to ' hermitage of San Marco , a hermitage stuck in a rock on which rain travertinica the plateau of San Marco , on top of Ascoli Piceno. This historic building, visible from the city as it lit up at night, do you want for signaling almost entirely absent, either because the main tourist attraction of the plateau, is unknown to most.

The circular route that I propose is done in less than three hours and is simple enough I had done yesterday, maury , they belong to many of the photos below, and my two children aged 7 and 9 years old.

Given that the way "direct" to the hermitage is another, shorter, but less striking, that part of the cemetery of Piagge, and in a quarter of an hour reached the monastery, the path we have chosen is less traffic and therefore less noticeable. It 'so important, if you go there the first time, have the cartographic references to avoid losing the trail.

Unfortunately I had forgotten at home the Garmin and I did not remember, at least up to 3/4 of the way, to have a GPS application on your phone to which, relative to the path, I carry these three maps and the final part of the circuit obtained from the cell

The route starts from a path almost opposite the Shrine

and is immediately transformed into a steep staircase that leads beneath the cliff of travertine that make up the base of the plateau.

Descended to the base of the cliff you will find yourself in a dense forest consists of several species, including ferns, chestnut and poplar trees. After less than five minutes you are at a fork in Y, one on the right and one on the left clearer, less mentioned but this really depends on how many people have recently done this route.

We will go to the left but first, head towards the right where we reach, after less than a minute, the ruins covered with bushes, are the ruins of the convent of San Lorenzo, abandoned, in the thirteenth century, when its space became tight to the many monks who at that time, got down to the religious life. The structure remain the mill made by the monks shaping a mass of travertine, a spa obtained by digging a block of stone, the water tower and only traces of the walls guessed.

Abandoning the ruins we go a little 'out of this detour to reach, after a short climb, the cave of Blessed Conrad Miliani who died there, already in the odor of sanctity, in the year 1289. The cave was excavated in the rock. Inside are the remains of the holes for a probable large door in the cave and a circular hole cut into the rock probably used for storing food.

Right next door, the rock travertinica is used by climbers to train and you can notice it from the nails fixed on the wall and it is not uncommon to find people who are training

We return to the fork and continue on the path to the left. Here we will have a half hour walk on a path not always well identified between up and down, immersed in the magnificent forest of the slope until reaching the famous finger of the devil, that outcrop of travertine hole the woods, clearly visible from Ascoli, from plateau and large sections of the road that connects the plateau in Ascoli.

Even the spike is used for rock climbing. We continue we channel it into a ravine and reach in a short flat stretch of woods that leads us to a clearing that contains the abandoned remains of a furnace for the transformation of travertine of which only a crane that abandoned them, as an eyesore , spoils the beauty of the environment.

In the same clearing, just in front of the crane, there is another special structure that looks like a shed for some kind of unidentified animal.

Continuing in this direction you dive back into the dense forest and after about ten minutes of ascent it finally reaches the hermitage.

The first emotion is to be in some Mayan temple, thanks to the contrast between the stone building and the forest that surrounds it and hides.

The second emotion is for the imposing staircase arc that allows you to overcome an impressive ravine.

But there is still time to climb to the hermitage. Let's go instead to the left, climb over a steel rope and, still holding the rope, we reach a spur from which you can gaze at the splendid view of the city of Ascoli Piceno and, secondly, the hermitage stuck in a rock.

I beg you, be very careful at this point, reggendovi well to the steel cable because, though it seems as around the rocky walkway is all full of green, in fact you are surrounded on three sides by a large ravine that exceeds hundred feet high so watch out.

Then return back and let us go up at last to the hermitage. We expect a first floor consists of a large living room with barrel roof built of squared blocks of travertine which can be glimpsed, covered by various graffiti left by vandals and uncivilized boys, predecenti graffiti that covered the ceiling.

Via another staircase we reach the large living room, upstairs, the roof of which is formed by the bare rock of the mountain from which hang plants and herbs creepers.

The living room contains three tombs and a large altar maybe used in the past for the Masses. From the windows instead, we can admire the beautiful panorama of the city.

Passing a short stretch discovered (eye to vertigo), we reach instead, the structure incorporating, in the past, the bell of the convent

Coming down from the hermitage we go on the path that leads us home. This time we do not go along the downhill path that led us to the hermitage but continue straight and after five minutes we reach the junction of Route 1 that leads, on the one hand to the fraction of Piagge and on the other there riporda the plateau.

We take this second path that obviously, all uphill, in half an hour in the pitch brings us back where we left the car.

Ultimately a short but intense hike with lots of things to see condensed into an afternoon immersed in nature. If you want you can make the journey in the morning and then take advantage of the meadows of the plateau of the hill San Marco for a tasty picnic outdoors.

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