Morgia Sant'Angelo

Useful Information

Location: 2.5 km north of Guardia Sanframondi.
(41.2801742, 14.6007832)
Open: Closed.
Fee: Unknown.
Classification: SpeleologyTalus Cave SubterraneaCave Churche SubterraneaSt. Michael Caves
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: La Leonessa, 82032 Cerreto Sannita BN, Tel: +39-0
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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700 cave turned into a place of worship to St. Michael.
1493 cave church was first mentioned.
1524 Bishop Biagio Caropipe was buried in the cave church.
1542 Universitas of Cerreto held their meetings in the chapel or in front of it.
1882 excavation revealed bronze Age remains.
1896 excavation by the anthropologist Abele de Blasio.
2000 church renovated.


The Morgia Sant'Angelo is a rock formation with a really weird form looking like a lion, at least from one side, hence it is called Leonessa (lioness). The rock is a glacial erratic, a piece of rock which was carried by glacial ice over enormous distances and thus differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests now. It is also the biggest glacial erratic on the Italian mainland. This area has numerous such erratics which are called morgia by the locals, nearby is the Ripe del Corvo (Chasm of the Raven).

In the rock below the erratic is a small cave which consists of a single horizontal passage. The extraordinary place was the place of human settlement since the stone age. It was excavated at the end of the 19th century. The main discovery of the 1882 excavation was a coffin made of slabs of gray tuff which contained a bronze spear. A second excavation in 1896 by the anthropologist Abele de Blasio revealed stone age remains like flint spearheads, scrapers, and bones of Bos taurus, of Ovis aries and Sus scrofa.

During the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, which means in pre-Roman times, the area was inhabited by the Sanniti. They utilized the rock, which offered a great view, as an outlook of strategical importance. There are several sources of water nearby and a shelter in case of bad weather inside the cave.

Around 700 the Langobardes turned the cave into a place of worship to Saint Michael the Archangel. The worship continued over centuries, in 1493 the cave church was mentioned, and it was told that monks and priests visited the cave. It became even more important in 1524, when the Bishop Biagio Caropipe was buried in the cave church as he had wished. From 1542, the Universitas of Cerreto held their meetings in the chapel or in front of it. At this time the cave was guarded by hermit. The tomb of Monsignore Caropipe was relocated to the sanctuary of the cathedral of Cerreto Sannita in 1783. It seems the cave was so popular at this time, that it was deemed unfit as a burial place.

The church was renovated in 2000 by the commune. It is now closed by a massive iron bar gate. As it is advertised on various websites as a local tourist sight, we guess there are open hours or at least the possibility to make an appointment. Unfortunately, we could not find anything on the web.