There is no lack of places, that are considered holy in Italy. Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo is one of them. Dedicated to the Archangel Michael, the sanctuary is a complex of buildings around a cave.
South Italy is home to a lush Gargano hills, that descend on the Adriatic coast line. Located in the province of Foggia, this limestone cavern is believed to be a place of worship since the Greek and Roman times. According to the historian Strabo, the place was dedicated to the god Apollo. However, pagans worshiped a mythical priest Calchas there as well.
In between the end of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth century, rise of the cult of the Archangel Michael began. At that time, bishop Lorenzo Maiorano, was determined to eradicate the pagan cult among the Gargano residents. His attempts were accompanied by miraculous reveals of the Archangel Michael. To this day, locals are devoted to the Archangel, who is considered to be the patron of the area.
The first temple was a cave itself, but time passed and now the complex includes: the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, baptistery, two Gothic arches, a bell tower, an 86-step staircase and marble statues. In the heart of the sanctuary, visitors can read an inscription of the Archangel’s words: “There, where the rock opens wide, the sins of men shall be forgiven.”
The sanctuary has become a top of a pilgrimage sites to visit. It also is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. So, if you would like to have a sacred experience or just love to wander around in a spectacular mountain village, Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo is a must see.
Location: commune of Monte Sant’Angelo, in the province of Foggia, northern Apulia.
Coordinates: 41°42′27.8″N 15°57′17.2″E