Basilica imperiale di Santa Croce al Chienti


History of the Basilica

Towards the end of the ninth century, where the Ete Morto river flows into the Chienti (a territory which today coincides with the countryside of Casette d’Ete, in Sant’Elpidio a Mare), a small Benedictine monastery was born, perhaps on the remains of a pre-existing 5th century Christian basilica.
The place is so strategic that the bishop of Fermo, Theodosius, and the emperor Charles III the Big (grandson of Charlemagne) will transform the Abbey of Santa Croce into one of the first and most powerful abbeys in the Marche region. The consecration took place on September 14, 887.

The Abbey would be the spearhead of a defense system aimed at blocking the Saracens along the Chienti valley and would be a reference for emperors who supported it with donations and protections.
From the ninth to the thirteenth century, it was an economic, social, cultural power.

After the “struggles for the investiture”, with the papal power prevailing over the imperial one, for Santa Croce it is the beginning of an irreversible crisis and decadence. In 1291, he lost his autonomy: the last abbot, Philip, excommunicated for not having subjected himself to the Cistercians, had to abandon the monastery. The properties of Santa Croce will pass to the Cistercians of Fiastra, then to the bishop of Fermo.

In 1749, bishop Alessandro Borgia was responsible for a restoration work, while the bishop, Andrea Minnucci, in 1790 transformed the abbey complex into an agricultural farmhouse, heavily tampering with the structure.

The birth of the Abbey is linked to the legend of the romantic and tragic love story of Lothair and Imelda.

What’s included

The Santa Croce Association organizes cultural and promotional initiatives of the place, excursions also along the paths along the Chienti and Ete Morto rivers, visits and exhibitions, both in the Basilica and in the representative office, in Corso Baccio, 40, Sant’Elpidio a Mare


Contact the Association for further info