Natural Regional Park of “Gola della Rossa” and Frasassi Caves
Area of relevant naturalistic interest, the Natural Regional Park of “Gola della Rossa is the biggest protected area of the Marche Region and is included within the municipalities of Genga, Fabriano, Serra San Quirico, Arcevia and Cerreto d’Esi. The park is renowned for its striking karst phenomena which originated complex hypogeous sistems of global significance and interest. Among the most beautiful calcareous canyons of the Marche there is the Frasassi Canyon, which includes the very famous and namesake caves. The Frasassi Caves are, indeed, karst underground caves constituting one of the region’s inland maximum natural beauties. Considered as the biggest hypogeous complex in Europe, they are characterized by a set of underground paths 30 km long and divided in 8 geological different levels. Known for its heterogeneous century old stalactites and stalagmites, the Frasassi Caves is a desired destination for all speleology and nature lovers. Layed down on the wide part following the curvy road crossed by the Frasassi Canyon, is located the suburb of San Vittore alle Chiuse. On the right of the thermal complex of the community rises the roman church of San Vittore alle Chiuse. Building created as a benedictine conventual complex before 1007, the church has a structure formed by white and rosy stone blocks. The layout is a greek cross inscribed in a central square from which starts off an octagonal-based cupola. On the left side of the Frasassi Canyon spreads out a wide barrel vault in which is placed the Hermitage of Santa Maria Infra Saxa. The hermitage was mentioned in San Vittore’s monastery documents of 1029 and it was associated with a benedictine cloistered convent located on the close Mount Ginguno, of which weren’t left any traces. Born as oratory, the building is characterized by a simple stone architecture whose interior is partially digged in bare stone. The hermitage idolized a wooden Virgin’s image of uncertain origins, which was subjected to a great number of purloining attempts. The image, was accidentally burnt in the Fourties and got replaced with the current stone statue. Located on a hill with steep slopes, Genga still maintains the urban medieval dimension, improved by the architectural restauration works that took place in the latest years. Among Genga’s beauties there is certainly the Valadier Temple, an octagonal structure in white travertine blocks, erected by pope Leone XII in 1828, following the design of the well-known architect Giuseppe Valadier. The church’s peculiarity is its dome roof covered by lead sheet almost snap-fit inserted in a cave. Within the temple there was located a “Virgin with child” marble statue by Antonio Canova, now exhibited in Genga’s Museum of Sacred Heart.