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Visit San Marco in Lamis
The monastery at San Marco in Lamis is part of the ancient pilgrim path that crosses Gargano from San Severo to Monte Sant'Angelo, being connected to the wide valleys through which the pilgrims in the Middle Ages reached the grotto of San Michele Arcangelo, along the 'Via Sacra Langobardorum'.
The monastery is by far the most important monument here and the main reason that both pilgrims and tourists are attracted here, but allow some time to also explore the rest of the historic town centre.
San Marco in Lamis: the Monastery
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 with the porch, dating back to the 16th century, and the statue of the Archangel Michael, being the highlights
Inside, 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 Saint Matthew from the second half of the 16th century. On the walls you can see some medieval frescoes, depicting "Saint Francis visiting Gargano" and "Saint John the Baptist". To the side there are some minor altars in the Baroque style dedicated to Saint Joseph, the Immaculate Conception, Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint John the Baptist.
The wooden choir is also worthy of note, and the work of the Friars Minor dating from the 17th century. In the lunettes of the choir there are some paintings that depict the "Via Crucis" and in the sacristy you can see 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 with a combination of rough stone arches and vaults.
Upstairs there are three long corridors with the rooms where guests are welcomed to 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. The monastery also holds an important library with more than 70,000 books.
San Marco in Lamis old town
Going into the Old Town you enter the area known as “La Palude” [ "the Swamp"] which is of both historical and architectural interest.
La Palude was the oldest settlement in San Marco in Lamis, and the name comes from the original characteristics of the place where the town was founded, which were dotted with marshes (Lat. “Lama”).
Another old quarter of the town is called "Lu Casalotti". Of interest 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 Saint Rocco. Over time it has been rearranged several times, especially after the change of location of the Abbey.
Churches in San Marco in Lamis
You will also come across several churches as you explore the centre of San Marco in Lamis, each with their own characteristics. The principal churches are:
The Mother Church or Collegiate Church dedicated to “SS. Annunziata”, originally built in the first half of the 11th century although it was rebuilt in 1860 and restored in 1952, and 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.
The Church of the Addolorata was founded in 1717. It has two aisles, and was cretaed 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 to be the oldest church in the city although it 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.
San Marco in Lamis traditions
Among the longstanding traditions in San Marco in Lamis the procession of the so-called 'Fracchie', which takes place on Good Friday for the commemoration of the Passion of Christ, is an event with very ancient origins. The "Fracchie" are the "torches" burned 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.
No visit to an Italian town would be complete without also exploring its culinary traditions so 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", and the “polenta” flavoured with onion, red pepper, celery and small fennel.
Where is San Marco in Lamis?
San Marco in Lamis is located in the plains on the edge of the hills to the west of the promontory of Gargano. The Gargano region is on the coast of south-west Italy facing the Adriatic Sea.