The Sunken Gardens of Mount Assisi
A beautiful sanctuary lies alongside St. Francis University, in Loretto, PA. Within the walls of the Sunken Gardens of Mount Assisi, visitors are treated to an expanse filled with a variety of neatly groomed plants and flowers, fish ponds and fountains, religious statues and a rock garden.
The grounds, considered to be an Italian formal garden, are meticulously cared for by the Franciscan Friars of the T.O.R. Each side of the garden is bookended with long stone walls, topped with foliage-covered pergolas. At the center is a large pool that captures the reflection of the former Charles Schwab limestone mansion.
There is as much variety among the garden’s visitors as there is among the foliage. During our visit we struck up conversations with several plein air painters, witnessed a bridal party in search of the perfect spot for a wedding day photograph and were surrounded by everyone from young families to senior citizens enjoying a sunny Saturday walk.
A collection of photographs, courtesy of Johnstown photographer Shawn Schmalz, can be found on our Johnstown, PA-themed Flickr.
The Sunken Gardens are located just off of Manor Drive (State Route 1001) in Loretto, PA (click here for a map to the Sunken Gardens of Mount Assisi) and are open to the public daily from dawn until dusk. More information is available by calling (814) 472-8971.