The Way of the Angel in the Gargano

Walking Route Length: 76 km
Walking Route Number of Stages: 3 Stages
Walking Route Duration: 5 Days

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The Way of the Angel in the Gargano

The proposed itinerary in the Gargano area wants to recall an ancient tradition, dating back to the Middle Ages. Even today, in fact, it is still possible to partially follow the route of the "Via Sacra Longobardorum": an ancient route of medieval origin that connects Mont Saint Michel in France, to the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo of Monte Sant'Angelo, a UNESCO heritage site which includes the most relevant Longobard testimonies distributed along the whole peninsula.

It starts in San Severo and ends in Monte Sant'Angelo.

First step. about 20km

The road that leads to the cave of the Archangel was born near San Severo near the Casale di San Eleuterio and entered the Gargano mountain through a wide fissure south of the acrocoro, the only natural route for traffic and rapid access. Along his way there were many more or less regular stopping points.

So called because, in the past, it crossed the territories of Longobard domination, the latter being particularly devoted to St. Michael, the Via Sacra Longobardorum was one of the most frequently traveled itineraries by pilgrims, together with the one towards the sanctuary of Santiago di Compostela, at the Tombs of the Apostles in Rome and at the Holy Sepulcher in the Holy Land.
Its layout is punctuated by votive chapels and shelters for pilgrims.

Second stage. about 25km (via S. Marco in Lamis – convent of S. Matteo)

The road traveled by the faithful coming from the northern Tavoliere sees the Valle di San Marco in Lamis as its first stop, along the sacred road of the Lombards in the middle of the small village of Stignano, where the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Stignano was founded in the 16th century. Even today it is one of the first and most important Marian sanctuaries in the captaincy.

We leave Stignano following the valley up to S. Marco in Lamis, from where we can go up to the Sanctuary of the Convent of S. Matteo, a monastic settlement presumably founded in the 16th century. VII by the Benedictines, passed in 1311 to the Cistercians and in 1578 to the Franciscans. Although lacking in medieval evidence, the complex has architectural and artistic riches.

You can then continue towards San Giovanni Rotondo and visit the places of San Pio da Pietrelcina, universally known as Padre Pio, who attracts faithful from all over the world to the Gargano town.

Third stage. about 21km

At this point we leave S. Giovanni Rotondo, still following the state road 272. The road is not very comfortable, but it allows you to observe a beautiful and wide valley with very suggestive views.
After passing the crossroads for Cagnano, at the end of the descent, you reach Pantano, site of two 12th-century Benedictine monastic settlements, of which the remains are still preserved: S. Egidio and San Nicola al Pantano.

At this point, in ancient times, the Via Sacra forked; a stretch continued for the abbey of Pulsano up to Monte S. Angelo; the other, still viable today following the state road, went along the Carbonara valley to climb, also on the Archangel mountain via a steep mule track.

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