Abbey of Chiaravalle di Fiastra and Nature Reserve

Not far from our house is an old abbey dating back to the 12th century. On the last trip I made alone, I decided to spend Sunday afternoon there, exploring the church and grounds.

The abbey was founded by twelve Cistercian monks in 1142. They drained the marshy land, created extensive farmlands and built the church and monastery using material from the ancient Roman settlement of Urbs Salvia. They also built roads and bridges, wineries and oil presses, and the abbey became one of the most powerful religious communities in Central Italy until the 1400s.

I got there in time to see a bride arriving for her wedding. Given that a wedding was going on, I wasn’t able to check out the inside of the church on this visit. Maybe next time.

What I did do was go for a hike around the Nature Reserve that surrounds the abbey. The Nature Reserve, established in 1984, is comprised of 4,448 acres of both cultivated land and woodlands, and is protected by the World Wildlife Fund.

There are three main trails of varying lengths, but all relatively flat. There are also shaded grassy areas perfect for picnicking, and on weekends you’ll see lots of families relaxing under the trees, kicking the soccer ball around or playing frisbee.


It was HOT and I was both thirsty and hungry after walking, so I decided to have lunch at the Ristorante da Rosa, the restaurant on the grounds. It was packed with families enjoying their Sunday lunch. The food and service was quite good and, if you can sit on the patio or the main part of the restaurant the atmosphere is pleasant. As forthe menu, I can recommend the pappardelle alla lepre (pasta with hare ragu). The arrosto misto (mixed grill) is also good, but I didn’t care for the tagliatelle alla papera (pasta with duck sauce).