The pretty abbey of San Claudio is located in the Chienti Valley outside the city of Macerata. To reach it, you drive down a beautiful cypress-lined lane and arrive in a secluded spot that surely inspired devotion among the monks who once lived here. The abbazzia is one of Le Marche's most notable examples of Romanesque style, with two cylindrical towers flanking the front, and a lovely curvaceous semicircular facade on the rear of the structure. Attached was a monastery that is now a hotel, and a separately-run restaurant.

Built in the 11th century on a Greek cross plan, it sits over the remains of a Roman villa. There are actually two churches in this one structure. The lower (inferiore) church is built with intricate brick cross-vaulted arches and holds two frescoes of San Rocco and San Claudio. The upper church is atop a staircase and was the primary worship hall in Romanesque style.

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Address in Macerata:

Contrada San Claudio.

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