Vallepietra is an enchanting medieval village at an altitude of 825 meters in the Simbruini Mounts Natural Park on the border with Abruzzo region at the sources of the Simbrivio. And thanks to these freshwater springs and the particular microclimate, a Slow Food presidium was born for the very tasty “ciavattone” bean, cultivated since the Spanish domination, for the mais Agostinella and for the potato particularly suitable for homemade gnocchi.
It seems that this small village was formed with people who fled the barbarians seeking refuge among inaccessible places and its history is closely linked to that of city of Anagni, to the Conti family of Pope Alexander IV (born in nearby Jenne) and to the Caetani family of Pope Boniface VIII.
The medieval tower in the main square is a reminder of the Caetani dominion, but the true symbol of the town, the one for which it is known throughout Italy, is certainly the Sanctuary of the SS. Trinity.
The sanctuary dates back to the 5th century and is partly dug into the rock of Monte Autore at 1300m. It is open from May to October and every year it attracts about 400,000 pilgrims on foot, especially on the day of Pentecost.
But other paths cross Vallepietra such as that of the path of San Pietro the Hermit because this was once a point of convergence of ancient transhumance routes.
There are various legends about the foundation of the shrine.
A destroyed parchment tells of two men who escaped Nerone's persecution and who here met an angel who brought them food from heaven and made a water source spring from the earth. The following day the Holy Trinity appeared and blessed Mount Author like Sinai and the holy places of Palestine.
Another legend tells of a farmer who ploughed the land while his oxen with the plow fell into a precipice. Going down the wall, he saw the oxen kneeling in front of a mysterious painting of the Trinity, which had appeared inside a small cave.
In the historic center of the village is the museum of the Sanctuary which preserves the history of the place with photographic images of Vallepietra, relics and furnishings. One room is dedicated to the Pianto delle Zitelle - Weeping of the Spinsters and to the ex-votos.