The San Cassiano Abbey is completely immersed in the woods of the Valnerina, between Narni and the Nera Gorges which open towards Stifone. It is a Benedictine abbey of the tenth century, particular for its location and rich in artistic and architectural testimonies.
Located on the slopes of Monte Santa Croce, the Abbey appears as a jewel nestled between the greenery and the most unspoiled nature. A silent place with a age-old charm , where you can relive the atmosphere of the past and admire the various environments that compose it, surrounded by suggestive crenellated walls. From the outside, in fact, it could easily be mistaken for a real fortress thanks to its grandeur, betrayed only by the presence of the high bell tower that stands out over the complex.
Let’s go into details, with an overview of what to see at the Abbey, how to reach it and a recommended guided tour.
Abbey of San Cassiano: what to see
One of the main buildings of the Abbey is certainly the Church of San Cassiano . It is a very particular place in terms of shape and decorations, where the various interventions that have taken place over the centuries have created a unique mixture of elements. It is also difficult to reconstruct the cultural identity of the place, although various aspects recall that classicism which also characterizes other architectures of the region, such as San Salvatore in Spoleto and the Tempietto del Clitunno. Among the most particular and typical elements of the Church of San Cassiano, we point out:
- the original plan of the church, in the form of a Latin cross with 3 naves that open onto each bravvio
- the 8 capitals that recall a Corinthian lyre decoration (although the alternation of different types of plants is missing), plus 1 example of a smooth-leaf capital embedded in the wall; the capitals probably come from a single laboratory, due to uniformity of measurements and quality of the carving
- 2 marble fragments of vases and pairs of birds, located at the base of the arch of the apse
- the columns arranged in pairs across the nave, belonging to the early Christian tradition
How to get to the Abbey of San Cassiano
The Abbey is located below the city of Narni : since it is isolated and surrounded by greenery, it is necessary to drive along a very narrow stretch of dirt road that is rather full of curves.
If you come from Terni and you are traveling along the SS 3 ter, you will cross the Narni Scalo area up to the junction with Narni and the SS 205 in the direction of Amelia. Turn right taking the latter: after just about 300 meters, you will have to take the small road on the left called Strada di San Cassiano (you will find the appropriate signs for the Abbey). Follow the road that goes into the woods for about 3 km and you will reach the Abbey directly. We point out that it is a very narrow country road, once taken it will be impossible for you to turn the car to reverse until you have traveled all the way.
Since the Abbey of San Cassiano is currently uninhabited, you do not risk finding it closed: always book in advance.
Between Art and Faith: trekking to San Cassiano
To visit the Abbey of San Cassiano it is necessary to book in advance, by contacting the local diocese that takes care of the maintenance of the place and agreeing the visit with them.
Alternatively, Sistema Museo organizes a special trekking route for visits