Hermitage Le Celle
When Saint Francis and his followers came to Cortona in 1211, they restored a couple of peasant cottages and chapel as a place of retreat. The stone rooms were called "cells" which is then what the entire structure became known as. Situated at the base of Mount Sant'Egidio, it was -and still is- a tranquil spot among the woods.
The friars' cells were built of stone and each room was only large enough for a bed, a writing desk and chair, as prescribed by St. Francis as the essentials necessary for contemplation. After Francis died, Brother Elias came to live here permanently, expanding the complex into a full-fledged Franciscan monastery. It fell into disuse for a period, then in 1537 passed to the order's Capucin offshoot, and the property is still a Franciscan order monastery. Seven friars live here and maintain this historic site, which remains a place of prayer and contemplation.
Come and wander through the woods, tour the complex and enjoy some tranquility just as countless pilgrims have done for centuries.
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Address in Cortona:
Strada dei Cappuccini, 1.
Ph. (+39) 057 560 3362.