The Benedictine Abbey of St. John in Argentella in Palombara Sabina was founded in the 10th Century, although the existing building is said to date back to the beginning of the 12th Century.
A beautiful Roman-style bell tower flanks the right side of the building. The upper floors, featuring single and triple-arch windows, are separated by jutting cornices supported by marble ledges.
An unusual feature that observant visitors may see is a strange cross carved into the lunette of the main entrance. It is a Greek cross and it has four circles, or four points, on each of its four sides. This glyph has also been seen as a decorative motif on some Greek vases dating back to 700 B.C. In western symbology, the points are usually associated with water and some modern maps use this same symbol to indicate a water source. References to water and springs, in both ancient and modern symbolism, strangely coincide with the history of the Abbey. It is connected to springs, especially the water source that flows beneath the crypt which was believed to be miraculous in the past.
In any case, this symbol takes on a clearer connotation in Alchemy. It is the symbol of Philosophical Vinegar, and especially the process linked to in the making of Alkhaest.