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Truly outstandingly beautiful abbey, requiring complete modernisation

Alatri, Frosinone

Price on application


A truly wonderful opportunity to purchase possibly the most beautiful Abbey we have ever had the pleasure to present. Set in an area whose beginnings are lost in the midst of time and legends, the Badia di San Sebastiano, founded in the late 5th century, is understood to have been a source of inspiration for St. Benedict. His influential rule paved the way for the formation of communal monastic living as opposed to the old hermitic way of life, and upon which the modern Christian faith was built. It is thought that St. Benedict’s teachings became the bedrock on which Christianity in Western Europe evolved as we know it.

This extraordinary estate, dating to the end of the 5th century, is situated in the saddle of Mount Pizzuto on the ancient road to Veroli, with uninterrupted views across the valley of the River Cosa to the commanding presence of the pre-Roman acropolis of Alatri, and is a 90-minute drive from Rome and Naples. Sitting within very ancient olive groves that are all protected and at about 500ms height up Mont Hernici, it has a commanding view over the valley. These foothills are what becomes the Abruzzo nation park, the greenest region in Europe with 36% of its entire surface covered by 3 National Parks, a Regional Park and more than 30 nature reserves. Here is also the home of the Brown Bear.

The stone exterior of the building serves as a counterpoint to the greys and greens of the centuries old olive trees scattered in the landscape that rises behind and highlights the recent and historically accurate restoration that exposes its elegant proportions. Named in honour of the martyred Saint Sebastian, the Abbey contains substantial reception rooms, a wealth of smaller chambers on both the ground and first floors, and a number of historically significant chapels (that are still consecrated at present). The site is connected to an abundant local spring by an elaborate underground Roman aqueduct, dating to roughly to the late 4th century. It was said that the monastery was sited close to the cave where a Goddess of Wisdom lived and held the power to tell the future. This goddess was turned into a witch, and from the cave where she resided flowed a great spring. The Romans tapped the water, building an aqueduct that still provides amazing water for local and Abbey use. The Badia di San Sebastiano has enjoyed a long existence and through its history has had close historical associations with major figures such as Liberius, St.Benedict, St. Servando, Cardinal Stephano Conti, and Renaissance humanists Giovanni Tortelli and Pope Nicholas V and the Doria Paphilj.

A Cenobite settlement: ‘One of the best preserved, and earliest, monastic buildings known in Europe’

Rare by even Italian standards, the structure of the Badia remains virtually unaltered, a point which has been studied by archaeologist Elizabeth Fentress and her team, who carried out studies on the building in the 2000s. Their findings culminated in a spectacular treatise entitled Walls and Memory: The Abbey of San Sebastiano at Alatri (Lazio), from Late Roman Monastery to Renaissance Villa and Beyond, published in 2005 and remaining the most definitive study of the Badia to date. The monastic spaces on the ground level of the building remain untouched and retain all their original features. These spaces include the 13th century Lower Chapel with its wealth of frescoes, the groin-vaulted storage rooms, a Chapter Room with a carved central column, the Monks Refectory still complete with its abbot's lectern, and barrel-vaulted kitchens and food stores. The simple rustic interiors are complemented by four generous outdoor courtyards and garden areas including a pool fed by the roman aqueduct, giving lushness and introducing light into the space. The upper level has a suite of bedrooms with painted ceilings, inserted when the Badia was in use as a Roman villa. Most of these spaces retain their same original medieval features as reflected on the ground floor. The Upper Chapel, the Loggia, the Upper Chapter Room and the Monks Dormitory comprise these upper spaces.

Property Details

  • Property Ref.: 10133

  • Surface: 2100 Sq Mt

  • Land: 5.66 Ha

Energy Class: Exempt
Property Status: NEW ENTRY


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LocationAlatri, Frosinone

  • Nearest Town: Alatri 4.8km

  • Nearest City: Frosinone 12.5km

  • Nearest Airport: Rome 113km

  • Nearest Shop: at 2km and 4km

Property Categories

  • Country
  • Outside Space
  • 5+ Bedrooms

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