Inside the forest on the trail of Rocca Accarina and Santa Maria del Case

While living in Torreorsina I had the opportunity to explore the surroundings. Looking in the dense forest, I managed to find the few remains of the Accarina fortress and the stupendous vestiges of the monastery of Santa Maria del Case.

“Illuminato and Augustin are here, / who apart from the first barefoot poor / who in the halter became friends with God”.

Thus Dante in the divine comedy appoints Friar Illuminato, feudal lord of Rocca Accarina and creator of the convent of Santa Maria del Caso.

It seems that in this castle he met San Francesco and decided to follow him, leaving all his possessions and becoming the main follower of the saint.

Map data: Google, Maxar Technologies
  • A – Rocca Accarina
  • B – Remains of dwellings
  • C – Santa Maria del Caso

Rocca Accarina and Santa Maria of the case

This walk requires skills in some steep sections, orientation and observation skills to identify the remains. But above all it requires respect for these beautiful and fragile places as they are defenseless.

Coming from Collestatte Piano near the Accarino bridge where you can leave your car or motorbike, continue on foot towards the mountain.

This leads to a crossroads, turn left and go up a stretch of road. Looking to the right, a wide path that climbs through the woods will clearly show.

Flank the cliff and continue following the path until you reach a second rocky spur and you will see the remains of the castle appear among the trees.

While nothing dangerous is left for the fortress, the monastery is unstable and heavily damaged. It is important not to damage it further and not to enter covered areas.

From the Accarino bridge (Collestatte Piano) where it is easy to leave the vehicle, continue along the road, turn left at the first crossroads and continue walking following the paved road. After a few minutes you will reach a crossroads near a house, continue to the right and proceed until a wide path that enters the woods appears on your right.

Continue climbing past the barrier, follow the road that after a few bends will present a not very evident crossroads. From here the road is less traveled but just follow the path on the plain until the convent appears on the left in the woods.

Santa Maria del Caso

The convent of Santa Maria del Case seems to be the first female monastery in central Italy.

The square stone apse is the oldest part of the church, the facade is a later infill. Behind the church is the underground environment at the base of the convent.

No trace remains of the convent, but the canals where the nearby spring, which is still active today, were visible in the ground.

The name is probably due to the natural terrace where the convent is located. In fact, Caso or casco are toponyms that indicate cliffs or rock spurs.

Looking in the woods you can easily identify the perimeter wall of the convent. The facade of the church faces the valley and overlooks an overhang of about 20 meters.

Rocca Accarina

Less than half a kilometer from the monastery is Rocca Accarina. Few traces remain hidden in the woods but you can guess the size of the settlement which from the documents must have included two churches and a village.

Going up to the top of the hill where the remains are more evident, there is the spur of rock where the keep of the toll booth was probably located.

In fact, the water cisterns and the foundations of the tower are still visible.

Friar Illuminato, before meeting the saint between 1208 and 1210, was a feudal lord of these lands, which he renounced by giving them to his son Enrico and his brother Ottonello.

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