Monte Sant’Angelo was bigger than we expected, but pleasant. Excellent weekend getaway, also for the not overly religious. We lazed about, but did go see the sanctuary in the cave where Saint Michael the Archangel is meant to have appeared, leaving a cape and a footprint. We did not get as far as the hotel spa, or visit the castle, but the castle looked interesting.
It was not very lively while we were there, and cool, so it was lovely just ambling around the centre. Might be a bit much in high season, which you’d think it was at the end of June, but perhaps it’s the economy. We lounged by the deserted hotel pool, which was very relaxing, with the view of Manfredonia below. Too cold to jump in the pool, though. Such a luxury, being slightly cold in Italy when it was almost July!
There is a fair-sized modern part, but the medieval part of Monte Sant’Angelo is white-washed and full of steps, nice for walking. Not just for tourists though; walking around, people had laundry out and we could smell dinner cooking. Kids were running up and down the white stairs, yelling. People were very friendly, telling us about the pilgrims walking here from Mont Sant-Michel in France, and other pilgrims carrying rocks up the mountain for penance.
In the hill across from our hotel we could hear goats and their bells (they wandered down towards the hotel at one point and had to be chased back). The butcher had been advertising Gargano goat meat, and the day we left – hey presto! A slaughtered goat hanging in the window!
I was tempted, thinking of goat curry, but we would not be home for a couple days yet and although Monte Sant’ Angelo was cool and rainy, we were going back down to the heat.
So we caught the local SITA bus down to Foggia, leaving goat meat, pilgrims and these slightly wistful balcony gnomes behind. 2.60 euro, listening to men discuss their lunch and school kids practicing more complicated English colours: “Mooogany. Dorato …? Si, gooolden.” Foggia, as we discovered next, is much nicer than we had expected.