Kalena Abbey

The Abbey of Santa Maria di Kalena, located about 1,5 km from the center of Peschici in a plain between the woods of Monte Pucci and the sea, it is a place rich in history and charm. This ancient monastic settlement has roots dating back to the XNUMXth century, although it is likely that a church and settlement existed as far back as the XNUMXth century.

The abbey was founded thanks to a donation from the bishop of Siponto, Leone, who in 1023 granted the existing church and the necessary land to the abbot Roccio of the Benedictine monastery of Tremiti. The strategic position along the Via Francigena and the numerous donations received over time led the abbey to become a powerful religious center, independent and endowed with ecclesiastical feudal powers.

However, its hegemony was interrupted around the fifteenth century, when, following a crisis, the abbey was again annexed to that of Isole and the Lateran Canons Regular replaced the Benedictines. The abbey continued to perform its functions until 1782, when, after the suppression of the mother house, it passed to public property and subsequently to private ownership.

Architecturally, Kalena Abbey is a layered and complex structure. Today the boundary walls, the ruins of the cloister, the sixteenth-century fountain, part of the dormitories and the two churches of Santa Maria delle Grazie are visible. The latter represent the different construction phases of the building and the workers from various parts of Europe who worked there. The oldest church is an example of high medieval Apulian architecture, while the "new church" is based on European, especially French, construction models.

This Benedictine abbey complex had a strong influence on the whole Gargano, so as to attract the attention of the abbey of Montecassino, one of the main cultural centers of early medieval Italy. However, Kalena Abbey began to decline in the second half of the fifteenth century.

Although the structure is currently in a state of abandonment and it is not possible to visit its interior except on special occasions, the Abbey of Kalena still represents a point of reference for the citizens of Peschici. The link with the local community is demonstrated by the procession that takes place every year on 8 September, when the population goes up to the abbey for the feast of the Madonna.

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