THE CITY OF ARCHANGEL MICHAEL, A UNESCO MONUMENT
Monte Sant’Angelo – the city of Archangel Michael – is located on the southern slopes of Mount Monte Gargano in the region of Foggia in the Italian region of Puglia. Manfredonia lies 15 km north of it, and the popular seaside resort of Mattinata lies 4 km west.
Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo . Monte Sant’Angelo as a city was founded only in the 11th century: from 1081 to 1103, it was the capital of a huge Norman possession, ruled by Count Henry, a vassal of the Byzantine Empire. True, this area was known long before these events – according to legend, even in the 5th century in the nearby grottoes, the Archangel Michael was three times a believer in whose honor the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo was later built. The sanctuary has become one of the main pilgrimage sites for Europeans. In 1987, he was visited by Pope John Paul II. Today, Monte Sant’Angelo is a small town whose economy is mainly based on agriculture and livestock farming. A significant source of income for local residents is tourism.
The ancient castle . In addition to the aforementioned Sanctuary of Michael the Archangel, located in a cave, in the city you can see an old castle hanging over a cliff , different parts of which date from different periods. For example, the first mention of Torre dei Giganti – a pentagonal tower 18 meters high – dates back to the end of the 10th century. The castle was the residence of Reinolfo I and Robert Guiscard, on whose orders the Norman Tower and the so-called Treasure Hall were built. Emperor Frederick II turned the castle into the residence of his mistress, Bianca Lancia, and during the reign of the Anjou dynasty, it housed a prison. According to legend, the ghost of Bianchi Lancia still lives in the walls of a medieval fortress – for some reason, it is in the winter that he lets out sad sighs.
“The Tomb of Rotary . ” Monte Sant’Angelo also houses the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Tumba, dating from the 12th century and known as the “Tomb of Rotary”. The baptistery portal is notable for its bas-reliefs depicting biblical scenes. Of the other religious buildings of the city, it is worth exploring the luxurious Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maggiore of the 11-12th centuries, the facade of which is decorated with false arches and sculptures, and the Pulsano Abbey, built in 591 on the site of a pagan temple and seriously damaged during the earthquake 1646- of the year. Also in Monte Sant’Angelo there is a Museum of Arts and Folk Traditions of Gargano, introducing the history and culture of local peasants.