Hermitage of Calomini

The Hermitage of Calomini is located a short distance from Gallicano, along the road leading from Vergemoli to Fornovolasco and Grotta del Vento. Legend has it that a shepherd named Calomini, from the village immediately above the hermitage, was sheltering under the rock when an image of the Madonna appeared. This image is still venerated in the sanctuary, and although once taken to Gallicano and closely guarded there, was surreptitiously returned to its place of origin. From then on, the sacred image was no longer moved.

Historical notes

Beyond the legend, the precise moment of the founding of this place of prayer is unknown. The first evidence of the existence of this religious complex is contained in a document dated 13th July 1361, which describes the conversion of Azzetto di Orsuccio and his wife, from Varni, and entrustment to the Christian institution of some of their assets in their land of origin.

Devotion to the Madonna of the Hermitage of Calomini grew over the centuries thanks to its miraculous properties and many high-prelates organized trips there to pay homage to it. Between 1631 and 1690 several new structures were built. An airy colonnade was erected, the cave was enlarged in order to make the sacristy wider and even the floor was reset. Then, intense renovations in the 18th century gave the hermitage the appearance that we can still admire today; seemingly jutting out from the cliff as if held above the void by a divine hand. Hermits guarded the holy place until 1868, the year in which officiating priests in surrounding parishes decided to take on the task themselves. In 1941, the Bishop of Massa, from whom the sanctuary depends, entrusted its custody to the Capuchin Monks of Lucca. On the initiative of these monks, after the war, a road was constructed leading up to the architectural complex. There are to this day many pilgrims, especially in May and in September, that come to pray to this sacred image of the Madonna.


Hermitage of Calomini, access entrance
Hermitage of Calomini, church interior
Hermitage of Calomini, side view