Hermitage Saint Francis Xavier

The Hermitage

The Hermitage of Saint Francis Xavier was inhabited by Franciscan friars, first by hermits in black habit and later by Franciscan Tertiaries. title, given the difficult location considering the period of habitation (1600/1800).

The Hermitage of Saint Francis Xavier

It takes its name from the Spanish missionary Francis de Jasso (1506-1552), like other places and buildings in this area.

The Hermitage of Saint Francis is located a few hundred meters from two other historical monuments of Elba: the “Tower of San Giovanni” and the “Pieve di San Giovanni“.
The area is surrounded by rich Mediterranean vegetation, in the area we find many paths that branch off into the high bush, ideal routes for Trekking lovers.


Directions reported on poster of the Hermitage of Saint Francis

The hermitage, built between the 16th and 17th centuries, is named after Saint Francis Xavier (Francis de Jasso Azpilcueta Atondo y Aznares de Javier), Spanish missionary in the Far East.
He traveled to India, Malaysia and Japan, where he celebrated the first baptism in that land. He died at the age of 46, on 3 December 1552.
Of the structure, composed of a chapel next to a shelter, only ruins remain which show the elegant architectural setting of some elements such as the valuable masonry altar surmounted by a ‘triangular aedicule illuminated by the sun entering from a small window on the north side. On the south side, an opening led to the sacristy; from this there was access to the shelter of the hermits.

Hermitage inhabited by Franciscan friars

The Hermitage was inhabited, in the mid-eighteenth century, by hermits who wore the typical black dress, only towards the end of the same century did they wear that of the Franciscan Tertiaries.
In 1817 the administrators of the Hermitage were Domenico Battaglini and Michelangelo Pavolini, in same year, as we read in the registers kept in the Historical Archives of Marciana, …12 masses must be celebrated every year, and the Feast is celebrated with the participation of all the clergy (…).
The church then it threatens ruin, so prompt compensation is necessary.
In 1846 the structure was found to be … damaged by damp due to the fact that on one side the ground was well above the floor (…). It would be better to raise the entire building (…). It will still be necessary to open a window on the eastern side to provide ventilation inside the aforementioned Oratory.

The Hermitage of S. Francis Xavier depicted in the leopoldino cadastre 1840
The structure fell under the jurisdiction of the parish of S. Ilario


How to reach the Hermitage of Saint Francis Xavier

Reaching the Hermitage of Saint Francis is very easy, following the road that from San Ilario leads to Mountain Perone, one hundred meters after passing the Tower of San Giovanni, (clearly visible from the road) and shortly before the Parish Church of San Giovanni, we find the street that leads to the Church of San Francesco.
The street is immersed in the chestnut trees and easily passable.
It is about 500 meters on flat terrain, only the last 20 meters are on a slight slope on rocky terrain.


Location Hermitage Saint Francis