Eremo della Spelonca
The small Eremo della Spelonca is located on Mount Cupola in the Pisan Mountains.
The Eremo della Spelonca is located on a hiking trail (numbers 120 and 00) and you can start from Santa Maria del Giudice (Lucca) from the upper part of the town or through the tunnel to San Giuliano Terme (Pisa). You can go from the village or park right after the tunnel in a restaurant parking lot and save yourself a lot of climbing.
The Eremo della Spelonca was founded by black hermits at the end of the 12th century. In fact, they weren’t hermits at all, because they lived in small groups but served the local population as spiritual and religious support.
Regardless of whether you make the route circularly or just unilaterally, the view is beautiful. The Mediterranean scrub with wild herbs, wild asparagus and many flowers smells wonderful. Higher up you cross the forest. The church of Spelonca is in a small open space. The church has a single nave and there are remains of eighteenth-century painting and the internal altar. The facade is the oldest part of the Eremo della Spelonca.
Next to the Eremo della Spelonca there is a staircase that leads to a small square. Many holes in the rock suggest that perhaps there was a wooden structure here. On the other side there is a basin dug into the rock and a little further back a cistern. On this side there is also the cave (Spelonca) which gave the name to the hermitage. A staircase leads to the front, which is long and narrow. Some stalactites are visible.
It’s said that people lived here in ancient times and one can well imagine that the cave offers protection, here are also the holes for the wooden beams that suggest a structure with a wooden floor.
The small Eremo della Spelonca is located near the Passo di Croce, where the ancient road between Lucca and Pisa led. There are many legends and stories about the hermitages of the Pisan Mountains.