St. Benedict’s cave at Subiaco shows the personal struggle for holiness in contrast to the common monastic life at Monte Cassino. This contrast is seen in the following image.

Lorenzo Monaco, St. Benedict in the Sacro Speco.c.1411-1413.[Uffizi]

St. Benedict’s Cave is on a steep cliffside.
Monastero di San Benedetto - Sacro Speco - Subiaco - Italia

The cave is merely a recess in the cliffside.
Monastero di S. Benedetto - Subiaco (Lazio)

The buildings hug the cliffside.
lower entrance, sacro speco

Today the thorn bushes are well cultivated roses.
Monastery of St Benedict in Subiaco, Italy

The cave is fit more for hermits than a community.

St. Francis at Subiaco

St. Francis (1180/81-1226) had a vision in which God told him to rebuild the church.
Francis’ dream of holding up the church.
Giotto, St. Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, c. 1295-1300 with detail of Francis Bracing Church

During his life St Francis visited the cave of Benedict. At this time the cave was renovated to emphasize the aspect of Benedict’s life that resembled that of Francis. In this way, the Benedictine life was reinterpreted in light of the then current Franciscan charism.
Sacro Speco | Subiaco

The cave was not significant until Pope Innoncent III (1198-1216).
Pope Innocent III. Sacro Speco, monastery of Subiaco

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