Eremo di Sant'Alberto di Butrio
Eremo di Sant'Alberto di Butrio, Churches of Pavia
The Eremo di Sant'Alberto di Butrio stands in Abbadia Sant'Alberto, among the foothills of the Ligurian Apennines in Valle Staffora, in the Oltrepò Pavese. Officially part of the province of Pavia, it is an isolated place in a clutch of mountains, surrounded by green pastures, chestnut trees, oaks and firs.
The construction of the hermitage was begun by Saint Albert himself, who may have had Malaspina lineage and in 1030 went to live in solitude in the nearby Borrione, where a small Chapel dedicated to him still stands.
After Saint Albert miraculously cured the mute son of the Marquis of Casasco (Malaspina), the family built him a Romanesque church dedicated to the Madonna in return. It was a place where Saint Albert and his hermit followers could celebrate the Divine Office.
Having established a community, the hermits built a monastery, one wing of which still survives to this day: the so-called cloister and the well.
Sant'Alberto di Butrio is an oasis of peace where faith, art and history lend further appeal to an unspoiled part of the Vogherese Apennines.
The hermitage is situated at 687 metres above sea level on a chalky spur set amongst a clutch of green mountains. Only the north slope is arid and barren, with streaks of broken stone and only patchy vegetation.
The place exudes a sense of peace and wellbeing, in line with the spirit of the countryside. A sturdy tower remains – part of the fortified walls – along with three small Romanesque churches; the church of S. Antonio features frescoes from the 1400s, while the church of S. Alberto (from the 12th century) holds the Saint's relics and a series of frescoes depicting Bertramino Malaspina, who commissioned the work.
A place of solitude, silence and prayer.
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