No Warnings and notice
SAN DEMETRIO NE' VESTINI
Its foundation dates back to the Middle Ages and precisely around the 10th and 11th centuries. Since then, also seven towns have appeared, which, to date, have always maintained the same names: Cavantoni, Colle, Cardabello, Collarano, Cardamone, San Giovanni, Villa Grande and the hamlet of Stiffe. Perhaps it owes its name to the Goddess Demeter (Cerere) or, as many believe, to the cult which was developed in the Middle Ages by St. Demetrius, Saint of Thessaloniki martyred during the persecutions of Maximilian in the 3rd century A.D. The history of San Demetrio is closely linked to that of the city of L’Aquila. It took part, together with the other adjacent towns in its foundation in 1254, yet it was not affected by the battles with Braccio da Montone, in fact, on this occasion, it distinguished itself for the fierce resistance of Stiffe Castle in 1425. Only at the end of the 1400s did it claim its administrative, economic and ecclesiastic independence with respects to the hegemony of L’Aquila. As the population gradually increased, thanks also to the economic resources of the town, based on the cultivation of cereals, saffron and transhumant pastoralism, the economy of the town reached such a level as to recognise the need, as from 1691, to hold a weekly market on Fridays.
The Stiffe Caves
These can be found in the only hamlet of San Demetrio: Stiffe. They are situated within the Sirente Velino Regional Park and these are an example of the underground karst phenomenon and they can be technically defined an “active resurgence”, that is a cavity and from this flows a waterway. The grotto sinkholes can be found on the Rocche plateau and the largest is called Pozzo Caldaio.
The tourist itinerary is about 700 m long and it is characterised by the presence of the river that creates waterfalls and extremely beautiful lakes inside the cave. There are also several limestone formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, shields and columns. In the first years of the 20th century, it was thought that it was a good idea to exploit this great water resource by building a dam in order to power a hydroelectric generating station. The first speleological explorations took place only after the demolition of the dam which closed the entrance to the cave (around 1956). The tourism enhancement of the cave dates back to the beginning of the 1980s until September 1991, when the Stiffe Cave Tourist Resort was inaugurated. The Stiffe Caves are open every day of the year from 10 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm. There are guided tours which last about an hour.
This can be found approximately 1 Km from the town in a natural, untouched and suggestive environment. It is situated at 702 m. above sea level and has karst origins; its diameter measures about 200 m. and it occupies a basin that dates back to a million years ago. The circular stretch of water is surrounded by rich vegetation which reflects in the greenery of the same water. The place is extremely suggestive, for the local inhabitants and those of the surrounding areas; it has always been a popular destination for trips, a holiday resort and a popular swimming pool.
The Church of St. Demetrius
At the town entrance we can find the Parish Church of St. Demetrius, situated by an ancient tower adapted for use as a bell tower. It was built upon the ruins of a temple, probably dedicated to the goddess Vesta, which, in turn, dedicated to St. Demetrius, martyr of Thessaloniki, who lived towards the end of the 3rd century, and after whom the town takes its name. It was mentioned by Antinori in 1329, it was completely restructured in 1600. It is a typical church with a Latin cross plan, its interiors are divided into three bays; the central one is covered by a barrel vault with lunettes, while the side ones are characterised by cross-shaped vaults. The works of art include a polyptych of Our Lady of the Rosary dating back to 1595 and a polychrome wooden equestrian statue.
The Church of the Madonna dei Raccomandati
In the highest part of the town there is the church of Santa Maria dei Raccomandati, built in 1820 and in the interiors of which there are the paintings of Teofilo Patini, Domenico Caldara and Luca Giordano. It only has one nave access to which can be gained by means of a stairway; in the sacristy there is a 18th century goblet and a silver pyx.
St. John’s Church
In San Giovanni, there is “St. John the Baptist’s church”; it was built as a parish church between the 11th and the 12th centuries. Its interiors, consisting of two adjacent buildings, hosts frescos dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, in particularly one of the Our Lady of Loreto is worthy of mention; Near to Cardabello there is the “Church of the Annunciation” with its central plan in the late Baroque style inside and in line with the Neo-Classic style on the outside; it hosts paintings dating back to the 19th century as well as some 18th century statues.
San Demetrio Ne' Vestini - Panoramic View
The Church of St. Demetrius
An ancient sundial on the wall of The Church of St. Demetrius
The Stiffe Caves - Panoramic View
The Stiffe Caves
3 - 5
Tel. [+39] 0862 86142
Cell. [+39] 327 9728914