Lombard Sanctuary of Olevano

olevano grotta di San Michele Arcangelo

The project for valorisation (Fondi POR 2007-2013) called "The Sanctuary of Michael of Tuscia and the civilisation of the Lombards", ended in the first months of 2016, and was drawn up and directed-with the collaboration of the civil genius of Salerno-from the three Superintendencies then competent for archaeological, historical-artistic, and architectural and landscape heritage. The project was offered in 2013, shortly before the expiration of the POR ban, to the municipality of Olevano Sul Tuscia, which in this way was able to avail of the available funds.

Among the most important interventions there is certainly the arrangement of steel walkways that will allow the faithful to visit the cave along the most impervious stretches until now accessible from a few adventurous visitors, enjoying the vision of the chapels, now Equipped with a new lighting system. Fundamental were also the new restorations of the pictorial cycles already known and the recovery of valuable artifacts, including a Lombard spur in iron rolled in gold used in processions, probably an ex-voto to the saint.

Finally, thanks to the work recently concluded, this year the celebrations in honor of S. Michele can take place in conditions of greater safety, having been realized also the consolidation of the stretch of the rocky Ridge looming on the final path and On the mouth of the cave.

The project is the last stage of a long work of preservation and valorization of the rock complex of Michael led by the Superintendence since the sixties of the last century, through various interventions on the cave and support actions To the local administration of Olevano on the Tuscia, which has always had the management of the property owned by the state. Since then, numerous excavations have been carried out in the area, preparatory to the restoration work and aimed at the knowledge of the dynamics of the rock settlement and of the daily life in one of the most important sanctuaries of Christendom. Medieval: Over the years, the investigations have brought to light altogether more than 30,000 exhibits, as well as remnants of buildings linked to the cult, including a hospice for pilgrims, a baptismal hall of the 9th century and, outside, the cenobio of monks-custodians of the sanctuary. All this constitutes a unique information mine that, together with the pictorial and stucco decorations and the graffiti present in the chapels, make the cave sanctuary Olevanese one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy, as was recently Also reiterated by Richard Hodges, president of the American University of Rome, one of the most authoritative medievalists archaeologists in the world.

"The hope is that, thanks to the work so far, it can emerge with evidence the extraordinary importance of the cave-declares the Superintendent Francesca caving-and it is possible in the future to obtain further funds aimed at its full valorisation, which It will include, among other things, the recovery of the structure emerged during the work in the so-called "garden of Pope Gregory VII", for which only one intervention of safeguarding with temporary works could be operated, waiting for the Restoration ".

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