Santuario San Michele

Useful Information

Location: Monticchio Laghi
Open: All year daily.
Groups make appointment at least 3 days in advance.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church SubterraneaSt. Michael Caves
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Abbazia di San Michele, Località Monticchio Laghi, 85020 Atella, Tel: +39-0972-238140, Tel: +39-0972-239464.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


7th century cave church dedicated to St. Michael by the Langobards.
8th century owned by Basilian hermits, oratory built.
8th century Benedictines built the abbey in front of the cave.
1059 cave church consecrated by Pope Nicholas II.
1456 owned by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.
1782 owned by the Order of Constantine.
1866 state property.
20th century major renovation.


The Abbazia di San Michele Arcangelo (Abbey of St. Michael the Archangel) is located at the village Monticchio Laghi, named after nearby volcanic crater lake. The abbey is dedicated to St. Michael, and as common with this Saint the church of the abbey is a cave church. There was a small natural cave in the wall of the volcano which was transformed into a church consecrated to the devotion of Archangel Michael by the Langobrads, probably around the 7th century. Soon some Basilian hermits moved to this area and dug their cells into the soft volcanic tufa. They built the oratory in the 8th century, which was the start of the abbey. The land soon passed to the Benedictines who built the abbey in front of the cave. After they abandoned it in 1456, it was owned by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. In 1782 the military order of Constantine took over and finally in 1866 the Abbey became state property.

The abbey is a massive seven storey building and the church is part of this building. It differs from the rest of the building because it has its own roof. While the abbey building runs parallel to the crater rim, the curch is oriented at an angle of 90° and the far end, behind the altar is actualy the cave. Beneath the cave church, there is the Museo del Vulture, which contains the permanent exhibition of Monuments of Italy and the world, made of wood by Gianni Della Rossa.