An atmospheric late-afternoon shot of the fortified monastery of Santo Spirito di Ocre (taken on March 1st), on a dramatic site in the mountains near L’Aquila.
The monastery was founded in 1222 by Count Berardo of Ocre, of the powerful family of the Conti della Marsica which collectively controlled around a hundred castles between Umbria and Puglia. It was donated to a hermit called Beato Placido who lived in a cave in the rocks near the site and beneath the castle of Ocre which belonged to the count's family. It later passed to the Cistercian Order, but was always a mysterious place and unlike other Cistercian houses in plan. It was closed and deconsecrated by a Bull of Pope Innocent X, promulgated on 15 October 1652 as the result of unspecified heretical practices, and then abandoned for centuries. Until a few years ago it was the object of pilgrimage by local occultists, but has recently been restored.