Rignano Garganico is a small town in the province of Foggia, and is the smallest centre of the Gargano Promontory. It is situated atop a hill and the reason why Rignano has been called the 'Balcony of Puglia'.
The medieval Old Town in Rignano Garganico is well-preserved, with cave dwellings, small streets, and alleys. The streets wind in a ring around the two main points of interest: the church to the south and the Castle Palace to the north. The various rings are connected together by terraced streets.
A particular architectural feature of interest in Rignano Garganico is the portals: they are a frequent feature of the houses in the Old Town of Rignano, often accompanied by arches and lintels, and very aesthetically valuable.
Among the major attractions of artistic and cultural interest in Rignano Garganico, first visit the Church of the Carmine, located near the so-called 'Great Gate'. The exterior features of the church are simple and massive, with a bell tower with two pillars that support a bell on top of the façade, in the way of a simple and rustic country church.
The current church has a nave, with the underside now used as a large hall for meetings, archives and a library. The plaster statue of the “Madonna and Child” has been replaced by a solid walnut statue by Nick Petruccelli (born in 1940, a contemporary painter and sculptor from San Marco in Lamis).
The most important monument of historical and artistic value in Rignano Garganico is the Baronial Palace, with its cylindrical tower. Over the centuries the palace has undergone various restorations that have altered its original appearance. The east façade is well preserved and shows a degree of architectural grandeur and artistic refinement.
On the first floor there is a series of balconies that are connected with the tower. The most striking are the balcony of the façade and the portal to the courtyard below. On top of the frieze that adorns the Baroque balcony the arms of the Corigliano family are engraved, consisting of a shield divided in half: to the left there is a rampant lion, to the right are two animal heads.
The portal below is a round arch, adorned with alternating scrolls, surmounted by a massive frieze bearing the arms of the Corigliano.
The tower was built as a defense structure around the year 1000, and was the main bastion of the medieval castle and city walls. The top of the tower was built with protruding stones which were the "brackets" through which the inhabitants could defend themselves against external attacks.
On the north side of the tower there is a niche containing a 17th century stone statue of St. Michael, patron saint of the Gargano, added during the last century.
The walls of Rignano had other towers, as shown by documents from the eighteenth century, but today they are gone.
The Cathedral Church of Santa Maria Assunta, presumably of Roman–Gothic origin, is an interesting style, as seen in the arc of the portal, in gothic style which has the pointed arch and many elements in the Romanesque style (started in Italy in the second half of the 12th century).
Transformations were then carried out in the 16th century as evidenced by its Renaissance architecture and by some dates engraved on the stones and placed on the perimeter wall, (1538 and 1559). The church holds some frescoes by Natale Penati (1884-1955).
You can conclude a visit to the sacred buildings of Rignano Garganico with the Church of Purgatory, of medieval origin but now used as a cultural meeting place.
Outside, the building presents a façade wall with a portal surmounted by a bas-relief while inside it has a single nave, with the altar surmounted by a niche containing the statue of the Madonna delle Grazie.
Finally, before leaving Rignano we recommend you try a very local product called Caciocavallo which is considered to be one of the most tasty cheeses of Italy, as well as the Muciska, a very ancient local dish which also has a festival dedicated to it.
See Gargano for some of the scenic highlights in the region.
See also history of Rignano Garganico