monastero-fortezza di santo spirito

Photos courtesy of Monastero-Fortezza di Santo Spirito








The Cistercian monastic order had a strong presence throughout the Abruzzo region in the Middle Ages. They improved upon local agriculture and sheep farming, which in turn encouraged economic growth and spread culture and civilization.

Placido of Roio built the Monastery of Santo Spirito on land donated by Count Berardo of Ocre in 1222. It was the third Cistercian settlement in the Abruzzo region and the first in the valley of l’Aquila.

Following Placido of Roio’s death in 1248, the monastery was overseen by the Cistercian Order and Convent of Santa Maria in Casanova, near Penne. Cardinals Marfeo and Francesco Barberini became trustees in 1330. A little over 300 years later, in 1652, Pope Innocent X closed down many of Italy’s smaller monasteries, including Santo Spirito.

Pamela’s Perspective

The monastero makes a great get-away-from-it-all experience. Satellite TV and Wi-Fi are the only evidence of the 21st century. The monastery can be a little challenging to find. Be sure and click on the “location” button on the hotel’s website.


Monastero-Fortezza di Santo Spirito

A 13th-century monastery


Via Santo Spirito S/N
67040 Ocre
Tel: ++39 0862 196 5538
Hotel website
Reserve with

Fast facts

12 rooms

Single rooms: 60 euros
Double rooms: 100 euros
Triple rooms: 135 euros
Rates include tax and service

Open: all year

Getting there

The monastery is about 15 km southeast of l’Aquila. L’Aquila is well connected by bus to Rome and Pescara. A rental car is recommended to best appreciate the region.

What to do

On site: leisure center; library
Nearby: hiking; horseback riding; cycling; cross-country skiing; climbing; exploring the towns of l’Aquila and the churches of Fossa, Sant’ Eusanio Forconese, and Bazzano. Fortified medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Summer festivals in surrounding villages.


Situated high on a cliff overlooking a valley, the Monastero-Fortezza di Santo Spirito presents a highly atmospheric medieval experience. Its well restored Romanesque architecture, church, and presbytery are open to explore. Of particular note are the 13th-century frescoes depicting the life of Beato Placido.

Guestrooms are installed in the former dormitories on the first floor. Each is named after a special “wind,” such as Scirocco, Furiano, and Maelstrale. Comfortable and good-sized, they are simply furnished in a rustic style with wood furniture and natural fabrics. All have en suite bathrooms, and many have views of the Valley l’Aquila and distant mountains.

A white stone walled dining room in the monastery offers breakfast and main meals. Local produce and products are offered in three courses; bread is baked in a wood-fired oven, and wines are of the region.

Management (Gianluca and Enrico) are exceptionally friendly and will see to your enjoyable stay.

Something special

curlicue13th-century frescoes

curlicueOccasional art exhibitions and concerts