Santa Maria della Ritornata


The small rock church is situated in the Roveto valley between Sora and Tagliacozzo at ca. 1135m. It is accessible from either Civita d'Antino or Morrea -- but the latter access is strictly by foot only. For the exact location see here or here. For a historic map see here.

The sanctuary is first named in 1183 in a bull issued by pope Lucius III as »Santa Maria de Tornara«. The name changes in the 16th and 17th century to »Santa Maria de Tornata« (1511) to »Santa Maria della Ritornata« nowadays usual.

Two wall paintings are preserved in the chapel which measures about 10m x 3.50m: the painting in the apse with Christ Redemptor between archangels (upper register), and a series of apostles or saints (lower register). The entrance door instead has traces of a Madonna holding the child flanked by two angels. Probably the flanking walls were painted, too, but only small traces (of painted panels?) can be seen in the NE-wall.

The building extends nowadays, after many restorations, over three stories with about a dozen medium and smaller rooms – though most of them of irregular shape – and a terrace overlooking the valley.

Property of the diocese of Sora. Access on request from the priest at Civita d'Antino.


Here's the sparse bibliography so far:

  • L. Meglio, Gli Eremi della Diocesi di Sora, Aquino, Pontecorvo. Percorsi di storia, fede e natura (Sora 2013) (non consultatum)
  • E. Micarti - S. Boesch Gajano, Eremi e luoghi di culto rupestri d'Abruzzo (Pescara 1996) pp.226-228.
  • L. A. Badilla Morales, Nel cuore del cielo (Civita d'Antino 1995) pp.19-20.
  • G. Squilla, Valle Roveto nella geografia e nella storia (Casamari 1966) 91 fig.21, 112.
  • G. Squilla, La chiesa di S. Stefano in Civita d'Antino (Casamari 1960) pp.{NaN}
Photogrammetical Data
Apse Door
Date September 29, 2019 Cameras 479 Cameras 91
Hardware Xiaomi Mi6 and Moman Portable Light Points 75,333,026 Points 27,298,212
Software AgiSoft Metashape Faces 1,275,712 Faces 1,467,611
Rendering Alienware 51 Vertices 640,491 Vertices 737,239
Photogrammetrical View A: The Doorway

The fresco above the doorway is marked red on the above plan.

Photogrammetrical View B: The Apse

The fresco in the apse is marked blue on the above plan.


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