Grotta di San Michele Arcangelo

Useful Information

Location: Raviscanina
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave. SubterraneaCave Church SubterraneaSt. Michael Caves
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=60 m.
Guided tours:
Address: 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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The Grotta di San Michele Arcangelo (Cave of Archangel St. Michael) is located between the village Raviscanina and Sant'Angelo d'Alife at the southern slope of the castle hill. The second vilage was actualy named after this cave church. The place is a cave church and a small chapel at the entrance of the cave. The cave is entered through a huge portal and down a stone staircse and a steep slope. At the bottom the cave widens and is transformed into a church by a central shrine covered by a dome supported by four pillars. Two arcosolia are located at the sides, both with traces of frescoes. There is a circular pool which was the baptismal font of the sactuary.

The cave is accessible since prehistoric times and revealed some stone age remains. It is used as a church since Lombardian times, as a sanctuary for the worship of St. Michael the Archangel. The chapel in frot of the cave was built in the first half of the 18th century. Inside is a statue of the Saint, presented as a winged warrior. In his left hand he is holding the scales of judgment for souls and in the right a sword with which he strikes the dragon. The dragon is the symbol of rebellion against God.

At the entrance portal there is a hole in the wall on one side and deep marks on the other side, which look like scratches. According to legend there was a bitter fight between the Devil and the Archangel Michael.

The Devil escaped from hell and was found by the Archangel, who told him to return into hell and demonstrated his strength by piercing the rock with his sword. The Devil tried to do the same with his claws but left ony scars, and so he was defeated and returned into hell. The Archangel then returned to his cave at Monte Sant'Angelo on the Gragano through the underground connection between this cave and his cave on Gragano. Since this time the people believe there is an underground connection between those two caves.

The cave is the destination of a pilgrimage on the two Holidays connected with Saint Michael, 08-MAY and 29-SEP.