Another tragic love story! But it is a sooo beautiful and romantic trip to the scene:
The “Grotta degli Amanti”, in English “the cave of lovers”, is not only suitable for Valentine’s Day, it is also a very pleasant walk for the summer. Why so? Because the circular route starts from the picturesque town of Torre di Palme and is mostly in the cool shade of the Cugnolo forest.
Torre di Palme can be reached from the SS16 coastal road. Coming from the north, turn a few kilometers behind Porto San Giorgio inland to Torre di Palme, coming from the south is the junction about 20 kilometers north of San Benedetto del Tronto.
Outside the small town is a rather large parking lot, especially suitable for summer day trippers and apparently also for wedding parties’ guests. In any case, one wedding was there last year when Elke visited the place and took romantic photos in the winding streets and stairs and in front of the panoramic view of the so-called palm coast of the Marche. Some nice little restaurants invite you to linger, some even with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and the Adriatic Sea.
Shortly before entering the town, a sign shows the way to “Grotta degli Amanti”. The route is not very long, but it is not always clearly signposted, so it is advisable to take a photo of the sign with the map of the route. But don’t worry, it is not difficult to find it. Just be sure you wear your hiking shoes, as the entrance can be tricky.
Here is the description from fellow blogger Isabelle, who was there a few days ago and walked all the way with her husband Erik:
We start our hike through a clearing on a path that leads into the forest. Shortly afterwards we hike along a gorge: Opposite, high on the rock, you can see the castle village of Torre di Palme. It used to be possible to get to the edge of the gorge, but this is now prohibited, probably because of the risk of erosion.
Via wooden walkways and a picnic area it goes deeper and deeper into the forest, yes, you even cross a bamboo forest.
Finally you come to an intersection where you turn left towards the cave. Until then, the way is easy and without difficulty. But the last part turns out to be a bit more difficult, since you have to pull yourself up to the cave with a handrail made of thick ropes. Those who make it to the cave only have a short way to the starting point. Anyone who – like me – gives up beforehand simply has to go back on the hiking trail.
There is a sign in the village of Torre die Palme with the history of lovers, dating back to 1911 and the dark years of the Italian colonial war in Libya: young Antonio was given a few days off to visit his family and his fiancee Laurina at home. The approved days off from the war quickly passed, but the lovers could not part. So they fled to the nearby Cugnolo forest and hid in the cave for 1 week. Local fishermen provided them with bread and sardines. But the news spread quickly that the authorities were already looking for Antonio, because the excuse to stay away from the troops was considered a desertion and was punished with a death penalty. Therefore, the two young people fled to the little church of San Filippo Neri. But the remorse and the feeling of being hunted them to suicide: tied together with a scarf so as not to be separated even in death, they threw themselves into the more than 70 meter deep abyss near San Filippo. Laurina must have died directly, while Antonio suffered severe spinal injuries that he succumbed to a few days later.
Back in the village of Torre di Palme there is still a lot to see. The Picenese lived in the 6th century BC below Torre on the coast and called their settlement Palm. After the Roman era, the residents moved their village up in fear of constant pirate attacks. There was already a watchtower there and the monks who came along built several little churches, all of which are still intact. Nowadays Torre di Palme belongs to the provincial capital Fermo.
I was in the 10th century church of San Giovanni and was able to take some nice photos.
A further tour of the town leads to the Augustinian church from the 14th or 15th century with a famous polyptych by Vittore Crivelli, which was stolen in 1972 but was soon found again: Jesus and Mary are surrounded by several saints.
At the end of the village there is the church of Santa Maria a Mare from the 12th and 13th centuries with a bell tower from the 14th century. The ceiling is entirely frescoed and dedicated to Maria and dates from 1911 (is it a coincidence that this is the same year that Laurina and Antonio died so tragically?).
Finally, along the city wall you can enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the Adriatic.
Torre di Palme and the walk to the Cave of Lovers is, in my opinion, an absolute must for brand lovers. Not just for Valentine’s Day!