Just 6 kilometers from Foligno, set in the idyllic natural landscape, is the Sassovivo Abbey, founded in the second half of the eleventh century by Benedictine monks.
The abbey was founded by the Benedictines around 1070, probably by one Mainhard coming from Santa Maria di Sitria. The abbey was based on an existing castle of the Monaldi family, on a site probably used in ancient times by the Umbri as sanctuary.
The abbey soon increased its power and prestige thanks to numerous donations. It also had the support of the Pope who, as of 1138, exempted from the jurisdiction of the bishop and the payment of taxes to municipalities. At the beginning of '200, depended on Sassovivo 92 monasteries, 41 churches and 7 hospitals.
In the second half of '400, passed to the Benedictines Olivetans, the abbey began to decline and in 1860 it was suppressed.
In the 1970s-1990s a substantial program of restoration was carried on. The church is still under restoration after having been damaged by an earthquake in 1997.
Points of interest include:
- the Romanesque cloister (1229), commissioned by abbot Angelo and executed by the Roman stonemason Pietro de Maria. it has a rectangular plan with 58 arcades supported by a double order of 128 small helicoidal columns with capitals having lily decorations and mosaic tassels. In 1340 a large central cistern was added, followed by a pit in 1623. The cloister is also home to a fresco depicting the Virgin Enthroned with Child (14th century).
- the monastery, with a fresco of the Last Supper (1595) and the 13th century dormitories.
- Loggia del Paradiso, with fragments of 15th-century frescoes.
- Crypt of the Blessed Alano (11th century), a remain of Santa Maria in Valle, the first nucleus of the Sassovivo Abbey.
- Passeggiata dell'Abate ("Abbot's Walk"), a path within woods of oaks, junipers and Aleppo pines.
In 1979, the Bishop of Foligno entrusted the Abbey to the Community of “Little Brothers of Jesus Caritas of Father Charles de Foucauld” who are still living there to this day.