The “Celestial Basilica” on Mount Gargano
In the province of Foggia, in the municipality of Monte Sant’Angelo, stands the sacred Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel. Known as the “Celestial Basilica” on Mount Gargano, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This 13th century, Romanesque-style Sanctuary has been a pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages and is associated with apparitions of the archangel Michael. You can admire the striking large forecourt, referred to as the “upper atrium”. There is also an octagonal bell tower, known as the Angevin tower, as it was commissioned by Carlo I d’Angiò to give thanks to Saint Michael for the successful conquest of southern Italy.
The façade features two large arches, surmounted by a triangular pediment decorated with friezes. At the top, in the centre, between two small rose windows, is a shrine containing a statue of the saint. The left entrance has a bronze door with panels recounting the Sanctuary’s history.
You’re sure to be fascinated by the two upper portals, which lead into a vestibule from which an 86-step staircase leads to the mystical Grotto, an Angevin construction where ancient local families are buried.