The shrine of Monte Sant’Angelo, which consists of a large cave, had once been the site of a pagan temple in pre-Christian times.
Beginning in the year 490, it has been the site of at least four visitations by Saint Michael the Archangel, who specified this spot as a place where prayers will be answered.
The first visitation involved a local lord, who lost a prize bull in the cave; when the lord fired an arrow it returned back from the cave and struck him in the foot. The local bishop received a vision of the Archangel telling him to consecrate the cave, however the bishop did not listen.
The second visitation of Saint Michael the Archangel saved the town of Siponto (today known as Manfredonia) from an invasion, celebrated by the Church on the 8th of May.
On the third visitation, Saint Michael the Archangel appeared to the local bishop and stated that he consecrated the shrine himself, the only time this has happened in history.
When a procession made its way to the cave they found the cape of the Archangel used as an altar cloth and his footprint embedded in the rock. In the year 1656 Saint Michael the Archangel appeared again, this time to the bishop of Monte Sant’Angelo to stop a horrible plague that struck Southern Italy. While the Archangel has not appeared since then, the votive gifts left by centuries of thankful worshipers attest to the continued sacredness of this spot.