Address: Pacentro


The church is situated on the slopes of Colle Macerre, only a few metres away from the main road that links Sulmona with Pacentro. Although it is completely hidden by vegetation, in an obvious state of abandonment, and not very well known by the local population, it can be considered one of most ancient architectural testimonies of the High Medieval period in Abruzzo.

Historical information

The construction of the church presumably dates back to the Longobardic period as is shown by the carved decorations with the motifs of a fish and an hourglass on the ornamental moldings of the presbytery area. The first document that certifies its existence however dates back to the 3rd of August 1170 and shows that it was Malletrio of Manario (the Count of Palena and Lord of Pacentro), who donated the little church of Sant’Angelo in Vetuli to the bishopric of San Panfilo.


Inside, the church was divided into three little naves and probably covered by a wooden roof. It led through to the presbytery area via three stone arches which still exist today and was fashioned out of a cave similar to that of the church of San Michele Arcangelo. On the wall at the end of the central nave of the presbytery, the remains of a 6th century shrine, where we would have found the altar, are still visible. At the rear of the cave, there is a small elliptical basin carved out of the rock. Water runs into the basin via a channel from a hole higher up the wall. Ruins and building waste from the Roman period, such as columns, capitals and fragments of headstones which were used in the building of the church, can also be found inside the cave.