The Camaldoli Forest, close to the monastic community that bears the same name and founded by St. Romuald approx. one thousand years ago. Tuscany.
Pietro is 60 years old. He has been living in solitude for over twenty years, silence being his speechless dialog with the Creator. Umbria.
In the fifth century three hundred monks asked the Pope to assign them an isolated and quiet place where they could conduct their hermit life. The Pope sent them in the valleys among Spoleto, Cascia and Norcia. Here, fifty monks led by Saint Spes reached the valley known by the name of Valcastoriana and established a small community that today hosts the Benedictine abbey of Saint Eutizio and fifteen hermitages spread through the surrounding mountains. Umbria.
The hermitage of San Pietro alle Stinche consists of a small church, a vegetable garden, a wood and a cottage. Father’s Giovanni Maria Vannucci’s dream come true is now in the hands of three friars of the Order of Maria’s Servants. Eliseo, Giancarlo and Lorenzo. Tuscany.
Father Sergio de Piccoli, a Benedictine hermit monk and the guardian of the highest library in Europe, died on Sept. 6th 2014 at the age of 83. Son of a binder and book-lover himself, he arrived in the Maira Valley in 1978.
In a magnificent corner of the narrow, Maira Valley there is the highest library in Europe, at 1.580 meters altitute. Here, a Benedictine hermit monk collected and protected over 65.000 volumes until his death. Something in-between a mine and a labyrinth. Piedmont.
The hermitage of San Lorenzo alla Montanina “...is a place of the heart. One can restore the spirit and the body here, thanks to the hospitality I offer…”. Father Giuseppe Castelli has been living here for years. Tuscany.
One of the small houses in the woods surrounding the hermitage of San Pietro alle Stinche, founded 1967 by Father Giovanni Maria Vannucci, an Italian presbyter and theologian who lived there until his death in 1984. Tuscany.
Luca is a novice at the hermitage sanctuary of Maria Santissima della Neve. As far as prayers are concerned, a hermit only has one rule: to pray incessantly. Whatever he does, his prayers shall know no interruption. Tuscany.
Father Luciano Proietti is a Franciscan priest. Since 1999 he has been living as a hermit in the mountains above Frosolone, at the hermitage of Sant’Egidio, where he welcomes pilgrims who wish to experience prayer. Molise.
Daniele is a Trappist friar. His days are marked by silent moments of prayer. From his straw chair in the small church beside the hermitage of San Martino and during the long hours of work in the fields or in the orchard, or while taking care of his sheep. His prayers are silent and sweet, just as his disposition. Tuscany.
The Porto valley is a protected canyon, hidden by a thick vegetation. It opens up to the sky of the Amalfi Coast, short after the village of Positano. Campania.
The plain of Monte Limina extends over the Locride hills, beyond the Greek path where one can still hear wolves howling. Here lives Father Ernesto Monteleone, who was ordered hermit in 2000 by the Bishop of the Locri-Gerace diocese, Giancarlo Maria Bregantini. Calabria.
Gianni is an artist, a poet and a designer. He lives in the Porto valley of Positano surrounded by his animals. Doves, cats, chickens, fish, turtles and dogs. They used to be many more in the past and to follow him on his walks. Gianni has many of their names tattooed on his skin. Campania.
The Belgian friar Frédéric has been leading the monastic complex of Sant’Ilarione since 2003. He arrived in Calabria 37 years ago. “That very first encounter with the South literally upset the young French bourgeois in me and that disruption opened a breach in my soul. Through this breach I could penetrate God’s grace”. Calabria.
One of the hermitages in Valcastoriana in the Sibillini Mountains, built in the 10th century. After being abandoned for a long time, it is now inhabited by a hermit come from far. Umbria.
Father Isacco is a bashful man of few words. He lives in Col di Nava, the area between the regions of Liguria and Piedmont, surrounded by his cats. Liguria.
“To be an hermit is an hymn to love for nature in all its form”. He said. Marco preserves the woods from the continuous passages of poachers. He takes care of injured animals put them back into the wild. Veneto.
Piero was born in Orvieto many years ago. He has travelled around the world and has long lived in the foot hills of Himalaya and in the caves on the Nebrodi mountains, in Sicily, until he settled down at the hermitage of the First Harmony, not far away from Cerva, a small village in the Sila mountains. Calabria.
A golden field before the storm. Hermitage of Sant’Egidio. Molise.