Mystery Monastery

February 28, 2012 / Places
Morano Calabro, Calabria

If you’ve ever traveled south on the A3 Highway through Calabria, you might have noticed ancient ruins looming above the motorway. This sight – il Monastero di Colloreto – was built in 1545 as an Augustan convent. The ruins are remarkable and the site is much larger than it seems from the street, however, reaching them is another issue.

From a base near Morano Calabro, visitors trek steeply uphill, pass along a dusty road, through a rain-made waterway (that is about as wide as one tennis shoe), and hop over a barbed-wire fence that is half demolished.

Once on top, the ruins stretch across the hill where your guide will explain each part of the convent in detail, tell you where the majestic paintings have been moved to and offer you a glass of robust red wine once you have returned to his restaurant.

The monastery is remarkable, not only for its isolation – unlikely you will run into anyone there – but because of its size, the panoramic views it offers of the Pollino Mountains and the dramatic cliff on which it perilously sits awaiting the next visitor who will come and marvel at its mystery.

(Image courtesy of Matthias Drosdek. Many thanks!)

Cherrye Moore

by Cherrye Moore

Cherrye Moore is owner of My Bella Vita Travel, a boutique tour operator specializing in custom vacations and heritage tours in southern Italy. Join her in June or September for the Small Group Heritage Tour of Calabria – a unique small group tour that combines group travel with a private heritage tour, or in September for the Undiscovered Southern Calabria and Eastern Sicily Tour.


2 Responses to “Mystery Monastery”

  1. ken borelli

    I found the story fascinating in terms of the history of the region….i had a similar experience in visiting my ancestorial village, Verbicaro, close to Scalea, there was an old monestary too and i could not really find out about the origins…it looked like a church, cloister or castle….it was called San Micheale ou vu” (phonetic as i cant write the Calabrese dialect) but translates to Old St. Micheals. Climbed over old fences and saw a large crypt with many old bones a faded painting…all in absolute neglect….i pieced together that an earth quake might have been the cause of its neglect, as well as a receeding coast line, and although it was several km’s in at one time it was more closer to the sea…100’s of years ago…i took some photos of it…and love to know more….Ken Borelli, also have a Calabrese American cookbook Flavors from A Calabrese Kitchen…one of the earliest from 1980’s when the cuisine was relatively undocumented in the US….now a very different story with as much misinforation as information. I will let it go at that…love to hear about the region

  2. Gian Banchero

    Ah, the wonderful romance of a good ruin! Thank you for the fine photos Cherreye… I really recommend Kenneth Borelli’s seminal Calabrese cookbook, of my many hundreds of culinary books Kenneth’s book has for over thirty years been one of my top five favorites.


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