The Relais Santa Maria del Bosco is housed in a former abbey that hosted Benedictine monks and that was then given to the Olivetan Congregation.
The original abbey, that is supposed to date back to 1300, was built thanks to a group of hermits who, accused of heresy, lived here until they started following the Benedictive Rule. The monumental complex, completed in the 17th century, develops on four levels around two large cloisters. The first cloister, square-shaped, with 36 columns with Doric capitals spaced out by round arches and niches, has at its center a big fountain in Baroque style. On the other hand, the second cloister has a rectangular plan, with columns with Doric capitals supporting round arches and, at its center, a fountain dating back to 1713.
The abbey, surrounded by about 200 hectares of forest land, offers an incomparable view on western Sicily. Lastly, a church, with a Latin cross plan, built between 1643 and 1757, is located between the monastery and the towering, cuspidate and pyramid bell-tower.
Once crossed the threshold of the monastery, the guest is introduced to the elegant and suggestive rooms by a hallway long 108 meters with cross vaults and red curtains. The rooms are housed in the ancient monks’ cells, as well as being characterized by the sacredness of ancient times.
Once crossed the main entrance inside, you will be welcomed by an endless hallway long 108 meters, with cross vaults and red curtains, that will take you back to ancient and sacred times.
Abbazia Santa Maria del Bosco is also a combination of culture and art. In the large areas in medieval style, it is possible to admire beautiful “Putti” All’interno degli ampi spazi in stile medioevale, si possono infatti ammirare dei meravigliosi “Putti” of plaster, result of the unique work by Serpotta. The baby angels, typical of Serpotta’s art, make precious the jams of some of the doors in the Abbey. Abbazia Santa Maria del Bosco, has hosted for many years the famous “Portrait of Eleonora d’Aragona”, marble sculpture depicting the princess from Caltabellotta and created by Francesco Laurana about in 1468. The abbey also hosts works in limestone by Paolo Busacca.