Abbey in the Cave II

June 8, 2009 / Places
Cava de' Tirreni
abbaziabenedettinacava5Continued from part I…

Close to a thousand years ago, the “Abbey” was nothing but  Alferius Pappacarbone’s cave dwelling! A nobleman from Salerno, he became a Benedictine monk in order to live out his life as a hermit. But he was called back to Salerno by Prince Guaimarius to head the monasteries in the principality. By then a famed and holy man, Alferius soon attracted other mystics and hermits and in 1011 the foundations of the Abbey were laid.

abbaziabenedettinacava7Soon enough, it grew into a huge administrative complex which in the Middle Ages held jurisdiction over more than 400 abbeys, priories and churches between Rome and Palermo. It could accommodate as many as 3000 friars.

Like all self-respecting Abbeys, some of the most impressive rooms are the Archives, home to 80,000 books and 15,000 ancient manuscripts and parchments. Throughout National Culture Week (3rd week of April) the library’s curator will graciously allow visitors to admire and photograph a few of the library’s treasures. Among these is a priceless Visigoth Bible dating from the 9th Century A.D.

Special mention: These visits have been made possible thanks to the perseverance of one woman, Anna Russo, who has worked closely with the Abbey with energy and dedication in order that the amazing art and artifacts contained behind the walls within this awesome cave can be praised by the public. Contact Barbara at Savour the Sannio for more info.


Barbara Goldfield

by Barbara Goldfield

Owner of “Savour The Sannio”,, a travel consultancy for central and southern Italy.

3 Responses to “Abbey in the Cave II”

  1. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Thanks for these 2 fascinating notes, Barbara. Lovely photos too of the rich interiors.

  2. GB

    So many ancient manuscripts copied over and over again by medieval benedictine monks, so little time!


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