|Location:||Monte d'Elio, Gargano (41°55'3.65"N, 15°37'22.92"E)|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1967-1968||excavated by Mara Guerri from the Istituto di Paletnologia, Università di Firenze.|
The Grotta dell'Angelo is a small undeveloped cave with a great location. The entrance on the northeastern slopes of the Monte d'Elio offers a view over the lago di Lesina and the Mediterranean Sea. The cave is a horizontal passage, rather small but with several side branches. Most of the cave is high enough to walk in without stooping, the visit is very easy. A torch is nevertheless useful for the dark part of the cave.
The cave was obviously lately used as a stable. At one time the entrance portal was closed by a wall with a door. Today most of the wall is collapsed. But the cave was used much earlier. During excavations the remains of human inhabitants from the the Palaeolithic were discovered under the direction of Mara Guerri, Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria (Italian Institute of Prehistory and Early History), Università di Firenze (University of Florence). The oldest remains were from the Gravettien (Upper Paleolithic). More than 3m high up on the wall some engravings can be found, which were created by the paleolithic culture called Romanelliana. Between 1.50m and 2.60m deep Bronze Age remains were found, similar findings were also made on the plateau above the cave and on other places nearby. It is followed by Roman and Medieval remains.
The name Grotta dell'Angelo originates from the Middle Ages. During the early Middle Ages caves were said to be inhabited by dragons, devils, fairies, gnomes and elves. In this cave Archangel Michael (Arcangelo Michele) was worshipped very early. He is often displayed killing a dragon with his lance, a typical legend which originates from this region. So actually this cave was seen as the place where he fought the dragon, and with it occult forces of nature.
Another legend about the cave is told by the locals. It is called leggenda della Sciatora (legend of the skier). There once was a fabulous hidden treasure, hidden by a goblin named Scazzamurredde. A man dreamt about the treasure so he knew its location. He went to the cave with his baby, which he rested on the earth, while he dug for the treasure. But for every dig his boy sunk a little bit into the soil. Finally he found the treasure, and it had the face of his son. When he looked up he saw the child vanished into the earth, only the hair still sticking out. He ran, but when he arrived at the place the child had vanished forever.