The Chiaravalle Abbey and Palazzo Giustiniani Bandini in Fiastra, Marche – Italy

Among Italy’s countless wonders, there is a charming place in the province of Macerata, region Marche, surrounded by untouched nature, a perfect spot to relax and recover your balance. It’s the Chiaravalle Abbey in Fiastra, well renown for its natural reserve which encloses a delightful environment, but also a unique historic, artistic and archaeological heritage.

I had the chance to visit this marvellous land, and I hope one day you will see with your eyes what I’m about to describe to you. This corner of Italy will enchant you with its extraordinary beauty.

Chiaravalle Abbey in Fiastra

If a walk in the natural reserve may make you feel lighter and at peace, in the abbey the same feeling is even stronger.

Established in 1142 by the Cistercian order of Milan, the abbey was built using the material from the nearby Roman city Urbs Salvia, which today is an archaeological park. Today the huge church and the beautiful cloister are open to the public. The latter links the different rooms where the friars’ daily life is spent: the capital hall, where they listen to the sacred readings; the cellars, which host a Wine Museum with ancient relics and tools; the refectory, where some splendid capitals coming from Urbs Salvia are displayed. 

Abbazia di Chiaravalle di Fiastra

To discover the real beauty of this place you just have to come here and experience by yourself, allow its atmospheres and its magic to abduct you. Just another good reason to discover Marche, an incredible and rich region of my beloved Italy.

Tips for visiting the Chiaravalle Abbey in Fiastra

  1. Plan Your Visit in Advance: Check the abbey’s opening hours and any special events or closures beforehand to ensure a smooth trip.
  2. Dress Comfortably: The abbey grounds may involve some walking, so wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather, especially if exploring the natural reserve.
  3. Guided Tours: Consider joining a guided tour to gain insight into the abbey’s history, architecture, and surrounding natural beauty. Guides often provide valuable context and stories that enhance the experience.
  4. Respect the Sacred Space: Remember that the abbey is still a place of worship and contemplation for many. Maintain a respectful demeanor, especially in areas of prayer or reflection.
  5. Explore the Natural Reserve: Take time to wander through the abbey’s natural reserve, immersing yourself in the tranquility of the oak woods, lakes, and diverse ecosystems. Keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy the serenity of nature.
  6. Visit the Archaeological Park: If time permits, consider exploring the nearby archaeological park of Urbs Salvia to delve deeper into the region’s ancient history.
  7. Bring Water and Snacks: While there may be facilities nearby, it’s always a good idea to carry water and snacks, especially if you plan on spending a significant amount of time exploring the abbey and its surroundings.
  8. Capture Memories: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the beauty of the abbey and its surroundings. However, be mindful of photography restrictions in certain areas, especially those of religious significance.
  9. Support Conservation Efforts: Consider contributing to the conservation efforts of the abbey and its natural reserve by following designated trails, avoiding littering, and respecting wildlife habitats.
  10. Extend Your Stay: Chiaravalle Abbey is located in the picturesque Marche region, known for its charming towns, scenic landscapes, and delicious cuisine. Consider extending your visit to explore more of what this enchanting region has to offer.

Palazzo Giustiniani Bandini

This palatial structure, located near the serene Chiaravalle Abbey in Fiastra, is not just a building; it’s a narrative woven through time, echoing the grandeur of the past and the whispers of those who walked its halls.

The Palazzo Giustiniani Bandini, originally part of the south wing of the Chiaravalle Abbey’s cloister, has a story that dates back to the end of the 18th century. Initially serving as the kitchen and refectory for the Cistercian monks, it was later transformed into a noble residence for the Bandini family. In 1859, Prince Sigismondo Giustiniani Bandini commissioned the architect Ireneo Aleandri to renovate the edifice, giving rise to the magnificent structure we see today.

Palazzo Giustiniani Bandini
Palazzo Giustiniani Bandini

Spread across three floors, the palace is a treasure trove of richly decorated rooms, each telling its own tale. The first floor houses the Pompeian Salon, a space where music once filled the air, and it is rumored that legends like Wagner and Liszt graced this room with their melodies. Adjacent to the salon is an exquisite enfilade, a series of elegant sitting rooms that exude refinement.

The walls of the Palazzo are adorned with grotesque decorations from the late 19th century, a style that captures both the imagination and the eye. Prince Sigismondo, the last of his name, held a special affection for the Abbadia di Fiastra estate. He completed the palace’s arrangement, beautifying the Hall of Estates and the noble staircase with captivating trompe l’oeil decorations.

However, the palace’s history is not without its darker chapters. During World War II, it served as a concentration camp for Jewish people and political prisoners, a somber reminder of the tumultuous times it has witnessed.

Today, the Palazzo overlooks an English garden, created between 1818 and 1835, adorned with holm oaks, various conifers, palms, and a majestic cork oak tree, a rare species in the Marche region. The Palazzo now hosts the Fondazione Giustiniani Bandini and the Abbadia di Fiastra Nature Reserve, continuing its legacy as a place of culture, history, and natural beauty.

The Palazzo Giustiniani Bandini, with its rich history and breath-taking surroundings, stands as a beacon of Italian heritage. It invites visitors to step back in time, to explore its halls, and to experience the enduring legacy of a bygone era. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply in search of tranquillity, the Palazzo and its environs offer a journey through time, nature, and the indomitable human spirit.

Chiaravalle Abbey Natural Reserve

Close your eyes and imagine to be surrounded by such an astonishing nature you can clearly feel its soul. Every item, from the leave to the cute little birds, has a strong spiritual side. This was the feeling I had while visiting the natural reserve of the abbey, a wonderful place to spend some time with family and friends. But also a comprehensive project for environmental protection and safeguard, research and education.

The reserve is divided in several sections: La Selva is an oak wood stretching over 100 hectares and hosting dears, martens, badgers and porcupines. Il Laghetto and Le Vene are humid and and very lush. I Campi Coltivati – ‘the farmed fields’ – are an exceptional example of combined farming, cultural and tourist activities.

Caprioli Riserva Naturale Abbadia di Fiastra

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