San Pietro in Valle

September 21, 2009 / Places

Legend has it that two hermits, John and Lazarus, arrived from Syria sometime in the 4th century and built a hermitage here in the Nerina Valley.

Meanwhile, God, promoting the theory that He works in mysterious ways, sent St. Peter in a dream to the Longobard Duke of Spoleto, Faroaldo II, ordering him to build a church and monastery in St.Peter’s honor.

So when Duke Faroaldo (not impartial to a fixer upper in a great location) found John and Lazuarus’ hermitage while hunting in the Nerina Valley in 703, he decided to build a cloister, monastery and church, calling it San Pietro in Valle (St. Peter in the Valley).

sanpietroinvalle2The 12th century frescoes are among the oldest examples of how the local artists attempted to replace the predominant Byzantine style with a more naturalistic style, preceding Giotto’s transformation of medieval painting by 150 years.

When Duke Faraoldo died and was buried in the church in 728 it became the Mausoleum of the Longobard/Lombard dukes. Since then the monastery has been turned into a hotel and has a great restaurant even though it is literally in the middle of nowhere.

All the more reason to pay a visit!

(See both final photos…)



Contributed by Jean Tori, artist (, who rents holiday houses in her medieval hamlet in Umbria (

4 Responses to “San Pietro in Valle”

  1. Rosemary

    This is indeed a lovely place. We stopped here during a drive through the area when we lived in Perugia. It is also in the middle of some very breathtaking scenery in the Sibillini Mountains an incredibly diverse mountain region that is part of the Apennines, a range of limestone hills that extends from Genoa down into Sicily.

  2. Very interesting story. Makes me want to visit again./ I loved having the chance to see where it is on a map and am glad you are back for my daily Italy “fix” after the summer!

  3. I loved today’s article but could not find the map. I love all your news, and would love to see more about Italian idiomatic expressions.

  4. Stanley Crabb

    Thanks, guys, for this. If this the first “saint” story following my suggestion, know that you hit a home run. Very interesting.


Leave a Reply