The cave on the northern slopes of Monte Acuto must have been difficult to see in the 13th century and even harder to get to. Carved out of the mountain’s precipitous cliffs, it sits above the the rugged valley of the Laque river just a few kilometres from Cingoli. Today one can clamber down the steep slope on sets of wooden and travertine steps to the place of stone and solitude where Santa Sperandia spent so many years of Benedictine penitence. Just getting down there in the 1200s must have been an ordeal, never mind how one might survive in such an environment. More than a mere visionary, she was also renowned for her ability to perform miracles, and is best known for her act of producing fresh cherries to some hungry labourers one cold and snowy January. She died in 1276, and her incorrupt body now lies in state in the Sanctuary dedicated to her in Cingoli, where she is the town’s patron saint. On the edge of the mountain ridge are the ruins of the 13th century La Roccaccia. Only a few crumbling walls remain, but the surrounding area is littered with the stones of the one-time important medieval fortress…
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