In 1142 Guarnerio II, duke of Spoleto and Marquis of the Marca di Ancona donated a vast tract of land, situated between the Rivers Chienti and Fiastra, to the Cistercian monks. The monks, immediately upon their arrival from the Chiaravalle Abbey in Milan on 29 November that year, began building the monastery using materials from the ruins of the nearby Roman town of Urbs Salvia, destroyed by Alaric between 408 and 410. At the same time, the monks began reclaiming the surrounding land characterised by extensive forests and marshes inhabited by wolves, bears and deer.
Today the surrounding parkland is still cultivated by the monks and wines and other produce are on sale to the public. There are two very good, well priced restaurants, and the medieval monastery, the archeaological museum and beautiful nature reserve are open to the public.