San Marco in Lamis is located in the plains on the edge of the hills to the west of the promontory of Gargano. It is situated in a dell that is connected to wide valleys, through which the pilgrims in the Middle Ages reached the grotto of San Michele Arcangelo, along the 'Via Sacra Langobardorum'.
Your visit to San Marco in Lamis should start with the monastery to which we owe the founding of the city. The main façade, built in the early 19th century, has a staircase leading to the cloister entrance. Worthy of particular note here are the porch, dating back to the 16th century, and the statue of the Archangel Michael.
The monastery church has a single nave with a chancel floor covered with polychrome marbles by masters of the Neapolitan school and above the altar is a statue of St. Matthew from the second half of the 16th century. On the walls are some medieval frescoes, depicting “St. Francis visiting the Gargano” and St. John the Baptist. To the side there are some minor altars inf Baroque style dedicated to St. Joseph, Immaculate Conception, St. Anthony of Padua and St. John the Baptist.
Also worthy of note is the wooden choir, the work of the Friars Minor and dating from the 17th century. In the lunettes of the choir there are some paintings that depict the "Via Crucis". In the sacristy are some 18th century furniture and a washbasin. The main dining room is simple, with a 17th-century fresco depicting the 'Last Supper. The other dining room is small but made special thanks to its medieval architecture made from a combination of rough stone arches and vaults.
Upstairs there are three long corridors with the rooms where guests are welcomed to the various activities organized by the convent. The long corridors are also often used in Art exhibitions. The central hallway leads to the picturesque 16th century porch. Note: today the monastery also keeps a rich library, with more than 70,000 books.
Going into the Old Town the area known as “La Palude” [ "the Swamp"] is of both historical and architectural interest.
It was the first settlement in San Marco in Lamis, and the name reminds us of the original characteristics of the place where the town was founded, being dotted with marshes (Lat. “Lama”).
Another old quarter of the town is called "Lu Casalotti". Worthy of note here is the Badiale Palace, once the site of the Abbey and now the Town Hall. Dating back to the 15th-16th century it includes the tower and a chapel dedicated to St. Rocco. Over time it has been rearranged several times, especially after the change of location of the Abbey.
Churches in San Marco in Lamis
The Mother Church or Collegiate Church dedicated to “SS. Annunziata”, dates back to the first half of the 11th century although it was rebuilt in 1860 and restored in 1952, and also damaged by an earthquake in 1975.
The church has a silver cross by the school of Nicola Guardiagrele (1385-c.1462) who was a skilled goldsmith and engraver in the Gothic style and of the Lorenzo Ghiberti school [1278-1455]).
The Church of Sant'Antonio Abate probably dates back to the 13th-14th centuries but we do not know the exact date of its foundation or the name of the founder. The Church of St. Bernardino is also of ancient origin. The new church, built to a plan by Gelindo Giacomelli of Verona, was opened in September 1973.
In 1717 the Church of the Addolorata was founded. It has two aisles, and was founded to spread the cult of the 'Virgin of Seven Sorrows'. The Church of Grace, in the form of a Latin cross, is dedicated to "Maria SS. of the Rosary” and to “Christ the Redeemer.” It is considered the oldest in the city and was almost completely rebuilt in the late 19th century.
In the Church of St. Joseph, founded in 1714 you can see several works by local artists, such as an oil painting depicting the Guardian Angel by Giovanni Cera (born in 1951 and the 14 stations of the “Way of the Cross”, painted in 1834 by Angelo Maria Villani.
Among the longstanding traditions in San Marco in Lamis we should mention in particular the procession of the so-called 'Fracchie', which takes place on Good Friday for the commemoration of the Passion of Christ, an event with very ancient origins. The "Fracchie" are the "torches" burning in memory of the fire that was once scattered along the road to illuminate the path of "Our Lady of Sorrows" in search of her dead son.
Continuing with traditions, you should also sample the local cuisine, which is usually very spicy. Among the popular local dishes are the "Fettuccine with snails," the "Cicatelli" and "Summuledda", or the “polenta” flavoured with onion, red pepper, celery and small fennel.