In the footsteps of Abbot Gioacchino da Fiore

The Gioachimita Way, between nature and spirituality
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© Regione Calabria

Sites of faith

Feb 15, 2024 10:23 AM

Did you know that in Calabria it is possible to practice a small Pilgrim's Way to Santiago?

It is the Gioachimita Way, which runs through the Reventino forests and Sila National Park, between the provinces of Catanzaro and Cosenza, in the footsteps of Abbot Gioacchino da Fiore, one of the most influential Calabrian personalities in medieval theology and philosophy.

The Joachim's Way retraces the highlights of the abbot's life, works and places in an itinerary between nature and spirituality.

The Calabria of Gioacchino da Fiore

We are in the dense forests of what is now Sila National Park, at the foot of Mount Reventino, between the provinces of Catanzaro and Cosenza.

It is here that once roamed an illustrious passage, a philosopher and theologian of the first order, among the most studied in the world: we are talking about Abbot Gioacchino da Fiore, who was born in Celico in 1130 and died in Pietrafitta in 1202.

Gioacchino da Fiore and Calabria intertwine their respective destinies in a unique story that leaves a trace of itself in the places and nature that surrounds them, now the heritage of all thanks to a specially designed Joachimite itinerary.

Between the Cosenza sites of his birth (Celico), where his birthplace at the Church of the Assunta still stands, and of his death (Pietrafitta), the abbot moved through the woods, creating a series of monastic communities responding to his personal vision of faith and creation. The first cenobitic site, which was destroyed in 1214, is identified with the ruins of Iure Vetere.

Thus Dante Alighieri mentions him in the Divine Comedy:

"[...] elucemi dà lato il calavrese abate Giovacchino di spirito profetico dotato."

(Paradiso, XII, 140-41).

After his novitiate at the Abbey of Santa Maria della Sambucina, in Luzzi (CS), he was appointed abbot of the Abbey of Santa Maria di Corazzo (CZ), where he founded the Florense Order, composed some of his major works and remained until 1187, when Pope Clement III officially relieved him of his institutional duties to devote himself freely to his studies.

Abbazia di Corazzo
Regione Calabria

Theologian, exegete, philosopher, reformer and esotericist, Gioacchino da Fiore made a fundamental contribution to the history of Western thought.

The Joachimite sites par excellence? The aforementioned Santa Maria di Corazzo, in the municipality of Carlopoli (CZ), and the Florense Abbey of San Giovanni in Fiore (CS), now home to the important Joachimite Study Center.

Abbazia Florense
Regione Calabria

The Joachim's Way

The small "Calabrian Santiago", or Joachim's Way, was born in 2008 from the initiative of the "Way of Gioacchino da Fiore" Association, and traces a path that ideally unites the Norman-Swabian Castle of Lamezia Terme (Nicastro), where the abbot received the Silan estates from Constance of Altavilla, to the Abbey of San Giovanni in Fiore, for a total of 5 stages distributed as follows:

  • Stage 1 - you start from the Bastion of Malta, near the coast of Sant'Eufemia (CZ), and cross the city of Lamezia Terme to the Acquavona Pass (1,000 m above sea level);
  • Stage 2 - descend into the valleys of the Amato and Corace rivers, passing through the Municipality of Decollatura, and reach the ruins of the Abbey of Santa Maria di Corazzo, in the territory of Carlopoli (CZ);
  • Stage 3 - crossed the municipalities of Bianchi (CS) and Parenti (CS), passing the basin of the Savuto River, and reaches the gates of the Sila National Park, in the locality of Caporosa;
  • Stage 4 - from here it reaches the southern shore of Lake Arvo (CS), where, if desired, it is possible to stop at the camping site of the same name;
  • Stage 5 - the last stage travels the distance between Lorica (CS) and the Abbey of San Giovanni in Fiore, passing through the remains of Iure Vetere.
Abbazia Florense
Regione Calabria

A sustainable tourism project that is also an opportunity to try one's hand at a sporting activity in the midst of nature: at the end, just like the more famous Compostela Way, participants receive the precious parchment certifying the itinerary completed.

https://calabriastraordinaria.it/en/news/in-the-footsteps-of-abbot-gioacchino-da-fiore