The Englishwoman visits the crypt of San Biagio at Serra Sant’Abbondio

This is the last stop in our journey along the River Cesano and the Romanesque churches linked by the ancient road which runs alongside the river. We’ve already visited San Gervasio di Bulgaria, San Lorenzo in Campo and San Vito sul Cesano. Have a look at my post on San Vito to see how these churches are, or were, linked.

San Biagio is different from the other sites, because it’s deep in the mountains. You can see how the peace and beauty of the countryside attracted monks to settle here, where they could pray undisturbed by the busy traffic of the lower Cesano valley. The river is hidden in a deep gorge here. A long way down to catch your Friday fish!

The River Cesano hidden by the trees of its gorge below the church of San Biagio.

The River Cesano almost hidden by the trees of its gorge below the church of San Biagio.

Before we got this far, however, we had come a very roundabout way. I assumed that the cemetery of Serra Sant’Abbondio, where the church of San Biagio is located, would be easy to find and so I hadn’t researched it very thoroughly. In fact the church is in the old cemetery, which is not clearly signed – why would it be? We stopped at a caffè outside the walls to buy a drink but really to enquire.

View of Serra Sant'Abbondio from the caffe'

View of Serra Sant’Abbondio from the caffe’

The customers and barmaid could not have been more helpful. It was 15 August, Ferragosto, the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin and a national holiday, but things seemed pretty quiet in Serra. The caffè was not very full or busy and no doubt we were a welcome distraction. First they explained to us that the church was in the old cemetery and how to get there, and then one young man went off to the Pro Loco (local civic association which often provides tourist information) to try and get hold of the key to the church. The Pro Loco had been open all day (bravi! giving up their holiday), but by the time we arrived it had only just closed, and our kind helper came back disappointed. We were frustrated too, as the church is known for its fine Romanesque crypt.

A lesson to me to ring in advance ( 0721 730657) and ask for the key another time. This is what I shall do next time we want to see inside an old church. No doubt I should have contacted the Mondolfo IAT (tourist information centre:  0721 939252) for San Gervasio, and the Pro Loco of San Lorenzo in Campo(0721 776479) for San Lorenzo and San Vito.

Off we went anyway to see the church and cemetery. The scenery was indeed spectacular,

View from the old cemetery of Serra Sant'Abbondio

View from the old cemetery of Serra Sant’Abbondio

and there was a deep sense of peace and holiness in and around the cemetery and the modest little chapel (as it turned out to be) of San Biagio.

Locked entrance to the crypt of San Biagio, Serra Sant'Abbondio. Strait is the gate!

Locked entrance to the crypt of San Biagio. “Strait is the gate!” (Gospel of Matthew chapter 7, verse 14.)


The chapel of San Biagio

The chapel of San Biagio

A farewell glimpse of the mountain scenery around Serra Sant'Abbondio

A farewell glimpse of the mountain scenery around Serra Sant’Abbondio.


About An Englishwoman in Italy

I have a holiday home in Corinaldo in the province of Ancona in the Marche region of Italy. I have been going there since 1993 and would like to share my love and experience of the area. I speak Italian. Ho una casa di villeggiatura a Corinaldo nella provincia di Ancona, Regione Marche. Frequento Corinaldo da 1993 e desidero condividere i miei affetto e esperienza della zona con gli altri. Gli italiani sono sinceramente invitati a correggere gli sbagli.
This entry was posted in Cesano Valley, Romanesque Churches, Valcesano and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Englishwoman visits the crypt of San Biagio at Serra Sant’Abbondio

  1. Edward Fennell says:

    Captures the remote tranquility of this strange part of the Apennine foothills. Deep silence of the impenetrable trees on the mountainside overlooking the small town Italian life in which the girls dress up immaculately to look cool and the boys hang out talking calcio with the ragazzi. And juxtaposed is the ancient spiritual mystique of this small, isolated church. Peculiarly atmospheric.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s