In the Valle dei Grilli to the west of the beautiful medieval town of San Severino (in Le Marche‘s Macerata province) there is is a huge cavern that opens into the side of the sheer rock face dates back milennia, and you can see the score marks on the rocks from the chiselling work of the stone cutters.
There are several other smaller caverns in the area that likely served as quarries, but the largest of them is the only one that boasts a Romanesque church at its entrance. It’s called the Gallo quarry, after a rooster that was thrown into a hole to try and find two lost monks – it (the rooster) eventually came out at a spring near Camerino, some 20km away. The monks? There’s no account of what happened to them. Although not quite as old as the quarry, the church at the quarry’s entrance dates back almost 1,000 years, and covered a far larger area than its crumbling remains now hold on to. At one time an important Benedictine abbey, St. Eustachio in Domora started out life in Lombard times as St. Michael, and over the centuries served as a guest house on this important connection road between San Severino (in the Potenza valley) and Camerino (in the Chienti valley).
Inside the main structure with its large round eye for the rose window is a shrine of sorts in Gothic style, and underneath one can still see the cells which most likely served as living quarters. The “prodigious crucifix” from the abbey is now in the San Lorenzo Abbey in San Severino….
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