Santa Maria del Molise, Province of Isernia, Molise
The municipality consists of two different centers: Santa Maria, at 632 meters above sea level, mostly covered with vineyards, and originally a Samnite and later a Roman settlement; and Sant'Angelo in Grotte, which rose in the Middle Ages, on a mountain at 980 m. a.s.l., surrounded by forests and dependent for its economy on pastures and livestock.
Provinces of Molise
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- Altitude: 632 m a.s.l
- Territory: mountainous
- Population: about 650 inhabitants in 2018
- Zip/postal code: 86090
- Phone Area Code: 0865
- Patron Saint: SS. Maria, Filippo and Giacomo
- Frazioni & Localities: Cagnacci, Pagliarelle, Pizzillitti, Sant'Angelo in Grotte.
Probably the Samnite and Romans settled in the more fertile plain. Later on, when the danger of invasions increased, the inhabitants moved to a higher position on the hill of Sant'Angelo in Grotte. In the 12th century a fiefdom of the Santangelo, it passed then to the Caldora and Di Sangro. In the 20th century then the municipality was moved from Sant'Angelo to Santa Maria, down in the plain.
- 1 May, feast of Santa Maria, San Filippo and San Giacomo, with a fair of goods and livestock and fireworks to finish.
What to see
- A Roman Villa
- Parish church of San Pietro in Vincoli; almost completely covered in frescoes dating back to the 14th century, representing "Works of mercy". Also the srypt can show beautiful paintings, as a view of the city of Bethlehem.
- At Sant’Angelo in Grotte, about 4000 ft above sea level, there is a spring of "holy" water, an ancient crypt and the grotto of St. Michael the Archangel who, according to the legend, while driving the devil down into the depth of the earth, would have liked to stop here. But God wanted him instead to go to Monte Sant'Angelo in Apulia, so the Archangel crossed the grotto through a natural tullel exiting just above Macchiagodena and flew to Apulia.