There is definitely not a lack of things to do in Assisi. Whoever visits this city is most likely interested in visiting the sights connected to the life of Saint Francis and L’Eremo dei Carceri, or Carceri Hermitage, is one of those sights. The Hermitage is located just outside the city, at an altitude of 791 meters, on the slopes of Monte Subasio. Before the current hermitage was built, this place was composed of a small chapel surrounded by a series of natural grottoes, used originally by hermits in paleo-Christian times. Saint Francis and some of his followers would come here to enjoy the solitude and pray.
In the 1400s, Saint Bernardino of Siena had a small convent constructed here, as well as the Church of Santa Maria delle Carceri, which encompassed the original chapel. Next to the convent there is The Grotto of Saint Francis, or La Grotta di San Francesco. Within the church, certain remains of Saint Francis can still be found, while visitors can see the cells of the monks on the top floor of the convent. The whole structure is located within an oak forest and a walk through the silent forest, along the original grottoes used by the monks for meditating, is an almost spiritual experience. The name “carceri” means “jails”, and legend has it that Saint Francis would say that he and his monks would go the grottoes to “jail themselves in meditation”.
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