The Monastery of Santo Spirito - An Experience in Italian History

by Beverly Sugarman - Date: 2008-09-01 - Word Count: 551 Share This!

If you are planning a trip to Italy and are a basket and craft enthusiast, you may want to stop at the Monastery of Santo Spirito, which is located about five minutes away from the city of L'Aquila, Abruzzo. This former monastery and fortress is nestled in the Apennine Mountains and is situated in a cliff overlooking a winding, lush valley. The building itself was built in approximately 1200 A.D. and the Romanesque architecture is still visible to this day.

The Monastery now serves as a small resort, with twelve rustic bedrooms that contain simple, organic furnishings set against the background of the ancient white stone walls and the red tiled floors. This style of decorating reinstates the feeling of peace and solitude that were present in these rooms when they served as dormitories for the monks who once roamed its halls.

Although these accommodations also include the modern conveniences of Wi-Fi Internet, individual bathrooms, televisions, and telephones, the room designers made the presence of these modern luxuries as unobtrusive as possible, keeping as much of the site's heritage and historical integrity intact as possible. The rooms themselves have also been decorated to be eco-friendly, using all natural woods and fabrics.

For your eating needs, the Scorcio della Sala Ristorante is located in the central part of the Monastery and offers a menu that consists of only locally grown foods. The dining area itself contains long traditional banqueting tables that are decorated with beautiful white table clothes and simple elegant candles. Again, the main courses, entrees, and wine are all grown and produced in the L'Aquila area and maintain the historical ambiance of the Monastery.

This resort also offers a number of activities for its guests which include a basket weaving class. Basket weaving using wicker has long been a tradition in the rustic villages that surround the monastery. For €65,00 per person for groups ranging from two people to eight people, you and your companions can be trained to weave authentic Italian wicker baskets over a course of four hours, being taught by local artisans who have been performing this craft for generations.

Another class that you may be interested in is the Wood and Stone Carving Class that is also available at the Monastery of Santo Spirito. Again, this art form has passed down through hundreds of years to the modern local artisans who will be on hand to teach you the basics to carving wood and stone.

This resort also offers you another way in which to visit the past by going on their Archaeological Excursion. Knowledgeable guides will take you on a fascinating journey, visiting local ruins and formations that date back to pre-Christian times. These guides will also enlighten you about the history of the monastery itself and the local villages which still maintain a certain medieval feeling about them.

The Monastery of Santo Spirito also offers a number of other activities, including an Italian cooking class, an area wine tasting course, and the opportunity to harvest mushrooms in the local fields and woods. For the outdoor enthusiasts, there are also activities such as horseback riding, mountain climbing, and skiing.

So if you are planning to visit Italy and are interested in basket weaving, carving, and other aspects of Italian history, the Monastery of Santo Spirito may be the perfect vacation spot for you.

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