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Virtual Tour

Settefrati and the Canneto Valley: environment, history and traditions

Around Lazio, we explore Settefrati and the Canneto Valley: a remote corner of the frusinate area where life flows on a human scale. The municipality has just over 700 residents, which is steadily decreasing, but pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Canneto always bring people.

Settefrati is located in the foothills near the Apennines, east of the Comino Valley.

A trip to the Lazio, Abruzzo and Molise border within the national park

Its origins are traced back after the 293 B.C. destruction of ancient Cominium by the Romans. The traces of the first residential settlements are in the area of the present historic center; this is the town of Vicus, which probably arose after the aforementioned event.

The name Settefrati was imposed by Benedictine monks to commemorate the seven sons of Saint Felicita who were martyred in Rome during the persecution of Christians. This location in the Abruzzo National Park gives the whole area enchanting views and an atmosphere of healthy relationship with nature. Elements to which is added a moderate isolation due to the distances with the most populated population centers.

The Christian faith is found in existing churches and in the remains of those that have been lost

In the village among the most interesting things to see is the 10th-century Church of Our Lady of Grace, adorned with a coffered ceiling. The atrium depicts the vision of Friar Alberico: an episode that is said to have inspired Dante to write the Divine Comedy.

Inside are valuable paintings by Marco San Germano. Several other churches, in various states of preservation, dot the town and neighboring hamlets. All that remains of the ancient Church of the Seven Holy Brothers is the entrance portal incorporated into the Town Hall.

While, again as an example, the main church dedicated to St. Stephen Protomartyr stands next to the tower in the highest part of the village. These are all evidences of popular devotion that finds its main expression ten kilometers away in the very ancient Sanctuary of Canneto. It is a destination for pilgrimages, especially of organized groups and increasingly conducted with long stretches on foot, also to immerse oneself in the spirituality of the surrounding natural environment.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Canneto at the center of a traditional social habitat

We are now a thousand meters above sea level, close to the source of the Melfa, a tributary of the Liri River and ten kilometers from the carriage road. In the setting of the Canneto Valley with its small waterfalls, thick with forests, especially beech trees, lies this area formerly occupied by the sanctuary of the Goddess Mephitis. Ancient deity linked to water, fertility of the fields and female fecundity.

We are at the shrine whose official name is: Minor Pontifical Basilica of Mary Most Holy of Canneto. The history of the statue of Our Lady, between reality and legend, tells of problematic movements, processions and significant acts of devotion.

In August there is a festival of great appeal to the whole area, given the notoriety of the place. Although involved in a lively tourist movement, the Settefratese community is still tied to traditional and very quiet rhythms of life. Much of the locals are still engaged in agriculture (cereals, grapes and olives); animal husbandry (cattle and sheep) and forestry.

An area to explore in search of a magical environment, genuine flavors, lifestyles far from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Settefrati and the Canneto Valley are waiting for you.

With the Blog of Rome and Latium Region, Around Rome guides you to discover the territories for the pleasure of satisfying curiosity and putting culture at the service of people and businesses.

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Edited by il NETWORK text by Andrea Franchini | photo by Ezio Bocci

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