Morgia is a piece of rock whose shape resembles a crouching lion. For this reason it is also called "the lion". Located near Gessopalena, in the province of Chieti, several legends are linked to it. The probably oldest and best known one says that its origin is due to the biblical hero Samson.

The Morgia

From Palena and Gessopalena, thanks to the hero of the people of Israel

Morgia was born thanks to Samson. It is said that the hero detached it from the surrounding mountains and carried it on his shoulders, with a single step, therefore with extreme ease, from Palena and Gessopalena. Furthermore, at the foot of the boulder, Samson would have left the enormous imprints of his feet, recognized in the so-called Samson stone. Furthermore, he, with a single, abundant urination, would have given rise to the river Avetino, which flows near the rock. In reality, the Morgia is a piece of rock that detached from the Majella complex and rolled down the valley in the various prehistoric eras, due to the various earthquakes that occurred over the centuries, until it reached Gessopalena.


Gateway to the world of fairies

For centuries, La Morgia was used to obtain building material. In fact, at its feet a small village called “Rotten Peach”, which however was abandoned after the plague epidemic that broke out in the 14th century. After the Second World War, the stone quarried from the rock allowed the reconstruction of the neighboring villages. Another legend tells that an abbey was born in this place which, over time, became flourishing. However, due to bad relations with fellow citizens, the monks were soon forced to abandon it.

La Morgia, panorama

Since then, it seems that the souls of the monks have wandered near La Morgia in search of their ancient home. A final and more recent legend claims that the rock is a gateway to the world of fairies. The place, in fact, is so magical that it inspires fairy-tale thoughts. Also for this reason, it deserves to be known and visited.

Caretaker of the Varotsos glass installation

Morgia is also the ideal place for the nesting of some birds of prey such as the red kite. Since 1997, it has housed a 40-metre glass installation by the Greek artist Costas Varotsos. The work, entitled “Orizzonti”, is inserted into the gash left on the rock by an explosion during the war. It aims to emphasize the relationship between the natural environment and human actions, inviting us to reflect on the responsibilities and power they have in redefining the landscape, for better or for worse.


The La Morgia massif, in addition to fueling fantasies and history, is a place of great impact from a naturalistic point of view. The green territory that extends around the rock was proclaimed last year Park of Happiness.

(Photo: Morgia Gessopalena; Pro loco Gessopalena, Facebook pages)

The Morgia, the enormous lion-shaped boulder, and the legends linked to it last edit: 2024-05-07T07:02:46+02:00 da Antonietta Malito

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