Wonder  }  Place of worship

Abbey Church of Santa Maria del Piano

When ruins tell the story

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Where is


Località Santa Maria del Piano, 02030 Pozzaglia Sabino RI, Italia (684m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

In the Muzia Valley, 2 km from Orvinio, rise majestically the ruins of a monument that, because of its beauty and the rich and long history it represents, could have told us much. What remains today are the archival records of the many entities that have woven relations with the abbey of Santa Maria al Piano over the centuries , and the broken, faint voice of the Roman-era bell tower and the imposing facade.

Why it is special

It would have needed a Victor Hugo of its own, this silent giant. Who knows if it would then have risen from its torpor like the French cathedral. Let's look on the bright side: by visiting it we can put ourselves in the great writer's shoes. We can wander among the bare walls, the collapsed roof and the torn floor, look at the lacerations, feel the pulse of past events and imagine his life as it must have been. I bet at least one of us would perceive a barely audible whisper among the stones, a grandiose story just looking for someone to tell it.

Not to be missed

See the eagle brackets supporting the ferrule above the window on the facade and the architectural details of the bell tower, which still stands up to all adversities.

A bit of history

Hypotheses want it built by Charlemagne as thanks to Providence for his victory over the Saracens in 817. Over the centuries its economic and political power grew and extended to many of the fortified centers in the valley. The great ruin came during the 19th century following the abandonment of the monks dictated by Napoleon. Because of the terrible cholera epidemic, it was even adapted for use as a cemetery. It was also prey to numerous spoliations and only in the second half of the 20th century did restoration work begin. Today it finally rests quietly in its beautiful valley.


In ancient times, bitter diatribes arose between the inhabitants of Orvinio and those of Pozzaglia over the actual ownership of the Abbey, since until the 1970s the building belonged to Orvinio but administratively the area fell to Pozzaglia. The claims between the two contenders caused no small uproar, so much so that a bell removed from the bell tower was taken from the two municipalities and has yet to be returned.

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Pro Loco Orvinio

A magical place, where you can almost still hear the footsteps in the grass of the monks stacking stones one on top of another to build the abbey

SharryLand Friendly Municipality
Comune di Orvinio


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