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Camaldoli, an oasis of peace

18/12/2018

by Sandra Massai Fallaci, ph. Alessandro Gambinossi


A fascinating dialogue with silence

When one feels the need to get away from the daily routine, to cut off from everything or to put an emotional distance between ourselves and what surrounds us, we look for places of silence. The Monastery of Camaldoli in the National Park of the Casentino forests has been one of these for over 1,000 years. The sense of detachment satisfies this need because this place embraces everything in a particular atmosphere giving a sensation of peace and reconciliation. Camaldoli is made up of two buildings a few kilometres away from each other and can be reached even on foot passing from one to the other through a century-old wood. Further down, there is the church, the convent with its cloister, the ancient pharmacy while the Hermitage rises well over 1,000 metres with its cells and a small church for praying. A place offering a wise balance of solitude and life in common thanks to the presence and welcome of the Benedictine monks. To fully appreciate this world, it is enough to dedicate a day for ourselves but you can also stay for longer periods because everything is well organized to host visitors at the Monastery’s “foresteria”. The Benedictine Community opens its doors to men and women, lay and religious people, singles, families and groups, believers and non-believers, each longing to measure themselves and to mutually host respecting everyone’s own personal path. The Antica Farmacia, completely furnished in wood, is not to be missed where wonderful, hand-painted pottery vases, which are called “alborelle” in Tuscan, are found, used for keeping healing herbs and spices. It is also possible to buy cosmetics, liquers, food.Various kinds of internships, seminars and conventions are organized: Camaldoli Cultura onlus is very active. Thus, a modern setting on an ancient soul. Within the library, there is the cell of San Romualdo, founder of the Hermitage who spent nearly all his time in prayer, work and the study of his environment made up of the characteristic elements: study, chapel and cell. It is also possible to visit the beautiful church, built a little after the year 1000 which, with the passing of time became rather degraded and was rebuilt in the 13th century. It is said that St. Francis was present at the consecration. The present Baroque style is due to 16th and 17th-century restoration works while the façade is of the 18th century. We are thus taken back to a time which embraces us with its ancient 1000-year-old charm, seeped in history yet so topical in its hospitality, organization and in what it is able to offer. For more information about the activities: www.camaldoli.it