The millenary HOLY HERMITAGE OF CAMALDOLI
The monastic settlement of Camaldoli was founded 1000 years ago by Saint Romuald, who chose this place surrounded by thick firs forests as a place for retreat and mediation.
The care of the wood was so important that it was included among the rules of the religious order. In 1012 the Benedictin monk founded in Campo Amabile the current Hermitage of Camaldoli, the first 5 cells and a small oratory. In the following year he re-arranged an existing building to be used as accommodations that is the current monastery of Camaldoli.
The Holy Hermitage and the Monastery, surrounded by peace and forests, represent the 2 main features of the monastic experience: loneliness and community.
The millenary hermitage of Camaldoli is located in the municipality of Camaldoli in Arezzo province, at 1,100 m.a.s.l.
The hermitage is within the territory of the National Park of the Casentino Forests and you can reach it from the Farm by hiking through a long and beautiful trail.
For more than 1000 years monks and wood have always represented an indissoluble union in Camaldoli: according to the “Regola di vita eremitica” (Rules of Hermit Life, by Beato Giustiniani 1520), every year four thousand new fir trees had to be planted, while the decision to cut one of them had to be approved by the general assembly of the monks.
Camaldoli has been proposed by the European Union as a Site of Community Importance within the framework of the project Natura 2000.
An important element from a historical and natural point of view, is the Miraglia chestnut tree that is more than 400 years old.
At short distance between each other there are the Monastery and the Hermitage in which the monks, who belong to the same community, actually live in a different way. Those who live in the monastery are more focused on community life, while in the Heritage the friars pursuit more introspection and meditation.
Currently there are 9 friars living in the Hermitage.
The inner courtyard is accessible through the main gate and from here you will be able to visit:
- the guest rooms where tourists and pilgrims are hosted;
- the church with the monastic choir;
- the ancient cell of Saint Romuald, currently included within the Library building. The cell has a spiral structure both for a practical and a spiritual purpose: it protected from the freezing temperatures in winter and it symbolized the spiritual path monks had to follow, from the outside to the very centre, in a constant, restless search.
- the Chapter where monks gather daily for a meeting to discuss monastery business, hear a sermon or lecture, or receive instructions.
Both in the Monastery and the Hermitage there is the Ancient Monk’s Pharmacy where it is possible to buy their handmade infusions and balsamic candies as well as beauty creams, essential and balsamic oils and the famous liqueur “Lauro”. All products are made by following the monk’s ancient and exclusive recipes.
Along with the Sanctuary of La Verna, the Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli is one of themost fascinating and mystic places of the whole National Park.