The Frasassi Caves: A Treasure in the Rocks

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When the weather gets hot, you can seek refuge in the hills of this beautiful area in the Marches region. Genga is located in the Ancona province and is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and pure air. It is the birthplace of Pope Leon XII and also spa destination. This location is a nature reserve and the location of the famous Frasassi Caves and the less popular, but amazing, Valadier Temple and San Vittore alle Chiuse Abbey.

The Frasassi Caves

This little town has many tourist attractions and is a popular holiday destination. One of the main attractions is the caves, discovered in 1971. They have 13 km of tunnels and unbelievable scenery where stalactites and stalagmites harmoniously interchange. They also served as a natural concert hall for Andrea Bocelli‘s Christmas concert in 2020.

There are various tours available among the main “rooms” of the caves. The most adventurous can choose a speleological tour exploring the normally off-limit areas without lights or marked paths. Once you’ve crossed the monumental entrance, you will “lose” yourself in the abyss- so big that the entire Milan Cathedral could fit inside!


Valadier Temple

For those who prefer the indoors and would like to see the ancient rock formations of the Apennines from the inside, the Tempio del Valadier is the perfect destination.

Situated at the top of a not particularly steep climb, the whole temple was built into a crevice and surrounded by the Frasassi Canyon. It takes its name from the architect who planned it, on commission by Pope Leon XII.

Hermitage of Santa Maria Infra Saxa

Near the temple, you’ll find the Eremo di Santa Maria Infra Saxa, a little medieval church whose walls camouflage within the rock formation. Many come here to meditate in absolute silence. During Christmas time, along the road that leads to the temple, you can admire a living representation of the nativity scene.

San Vittore Abbey

The last destination of this tour is San Vittore alle Chiuse Abbey, an example of Romanesque architecture surrounded by mountains. The interior is completely bare and stark making it even more pure with its subtle lighting. It is the subject of many legends such as the one about the Knights Templar because of the infinity symbol carved into a column. The abbey appears to lie within a gigantic grail and those who visit and enjoy the view will be rewarded with immortality.

frasassi-genga-abbazia san vittorio
Copyright photo: Massimo Roselli

If you have worked up an appetite after exploring, Genga welcomes you with open arms with its local specialties, both in the alleys of the town center and near the ticket office at the entrance to the caves. There is an open-air market, where you can buy delicious local products to taste while admiring the stalagmites in the area.