The Temple of Valadier is a secret "refuge of sinners"


At first glance you might think that the Temple of Valadier was a photoshop. Fortunately you’d be wrong. The amazing temple looks like...

At first glance you might think that the Temple of Valadier was a photoshop. Fortunately you’d be wrong. The amazing temple looks like something out of legend, built into the opening of a massive cave system. The “refuge of sinners” as it’s known, is a spectacularly spiritual place that welcomes all. 

The neoclassic was comishined by Pope Leo XII, and designed by Giuseppe Valadier in 1828. Each side of the octagonal church is meant to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus, and the Virgin Mary’s Catholic title, “Refugium Eccatorum.” 

During construction, human bones, ovens, and even coins were discovered, dating all the way back to the Bronze Age. Experts guess that groups of people seeking refuge have paid visits to the temple for centuries, traveling up the steep incline of the mountain path to reach the entrance.

It is likely that the church was built as a place for sinners to come and repent. The sweeping surrounding landscapes, and hidden temple would have made for a deeply spiritual atmosphere, and a place where anyone would be able to come to find peace of mind. 

Today visitors are invited to come and explore “Refuge of Sinners,” by taking a hiking day trip to the nearby Frasassi Caves and Valadier’s Temple. They’ve become a favorite stop for nature lovers, explorers, and cavers alike, as it’s one of the most beautiful sites in all of Italy. 

The area around the Frasassi Caves and Valadier’s Temple is full of underground tunnels, amazing grottos, temples, and caves, and is welcome to anyone, no matter what you’re seeking. 

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Places explored in this article:

This was originally written for Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
Want more articles by Dana Newkirk? Find them here!