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The Shrine of San Michele Arcangelo


  • Ph. Carlos Solito
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  • Ph. Pasquale Gatta
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The Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2011, is located in the heart of Monte Sant’Angelo.

One of the world's most celebrated holy places dedicated to the Archangel Michael, it stands on high ground on what was once the Via Sacra Langobardorum. All around lies the Gargano’s typically verdant and inaccessible countryside. The Sanctuary's white façade welcomes pilgrims with its two large arches, surmounted by a niche with a statue of Saint Michael.

From the vestibule, an 86-step staircase leads down to the heart of the sanctuary - the Sacred Cave where Saint Michael appeared. Here, you can read an inscription of the Archangel’s words, which have served to consecrate this mystical place over the centuries: “There where the rock opens wide, the sins of men shall be forgiven.”

The baroque altars of the Holy Sacrament and Virgin Mary stand near the magnificent main altar which is dominated by a marble statue of the Prince of the Heavenly Host.

  • Historical notes

    The underground cave probably became a place of worship in the period when the area was under Greek rule. The sanctuary was founded between the 5th and 6th centuries AD at the behest of the bishop of Siponto, Lorenzo Maiorano, after the archangel Michael had appeared three times. It served as a national memorial chapel under the Lombards and was later attacked by the Saracens, before being restored by the archbishop of Benevento Aione in the 9th century. The Normans and Angevines left signs of their reign over the “Celestial Basilica,” which is today entrusted to the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel.   

  • Architecture

    Spread over two levels, the sanctuary welcomes the faithful with its Romanesque façade and bell tower, known as the Angevine tower. A stairway dug into the rock leads underground to the Sacred Cave, Museum, and crypts. Numerous inscriptions are carved into the rock, some in runes, testifying to the passage of pilgrims since Lombard times.

  • Main artworks

    The marble statue of Saint Michael the Archangel in the Sacred Cave was carved by Andrea Sansovino in 1507. Other treasures of sacred art include the episcopal pulpit and a statue of Saint Sebastian. The crypts are decorated with sculptures found at nearby archaeological excavations.

  • The Via Micaelica

    The Via Micaelica, which is also known as the Via Francigena del Sud, connects Rome to Monte Sant'Angelo. The ancient trail from Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome to the Sanctuary of San Michele, in Gargano, is a reference point for many pilgrims and the current focus of a general historical and spiritual reawakening.

Via Real Basilica 121 71037 Monte Sant'Angelo +390884561150 Write us Go the the website

Travel period

From 01/01/2016
to 31/12/2016
Opening hours 09:30 - 12:30, 14:30 - 17:00

From 01/04/2016
to 30/09/2016
Opening hours 09:30 - 12:30, 14:30 - 19:00

Ticket

Free entry for everyone


Visitor services

Capacity, Groups Reception, Merchandising , Toilet Facilities and Showers

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