Anyone visiting the Gargano for the first time notices it soon: The Gargano is a land deeply attached to their traditions. You can understand by the folkloristic events that bring back in life the dances and sounds ancient, from the sacred rituals that faithfully respect secular traditions, from the local handicraft tied to agricultural life and habits of the peasants, from the arts and knowledges handed down generation to generation. The best way for discovering this precious heritage is enter in the places where it is guarded and living the events that take place throughout the whole year.
It is located in the historic centre of Vico del Gargano and is converted from an old oil mill dating back to the 14th century where it was concentrated the olive oil production of the territory. Inside you can admire, in fact, the big millstone of local stone, the presses in wood, a reservoir for oil, a warehouse and a barn for the animals used in the machining process and other tools needed for the olive oil production and for the farm works. There is also the monacesca cuisine “a tutta camera” where who worked in the oil mill could rest for a short time. In the exhibition space also are kept intact and original many tools used in those times, including a barouche and very ancient objects of daily life. This place has witnessed over the centuries of the effort by many people which were working there and visit it means immersing yourself in a past still alive in the memories of the local people and jealously guarded.
It is a manifestation which is held in the first decade of August, born in the locality of Gargano for preserving the heritage of folk music. Since 10 years now the event livening up the summer with the traditional musics of the Gargano. At attracting the public are mainly I Cantori di Carpino which sing and play a musical repertoire among the most evocative and ancient of the Apulian territory.
The week before Easter is one of the most heartfelt recurrences in the Gargano. The apex of the religious celebrations is reached in the course of the Holy Friday, one of the most intense days and full of emotions of whole year. Every town, mixing tradition and faith, over the centuries has developed its own way of reliving the Passion of Christ. In San Marco in Lamis, for example, is held the suggestive Procession of the Fracchie, a ritual that dates back to the Middle Ages: the fracchie, giant torches realized with large tree trunks, come trailed by figurants in vintage outfit which illuminate per day the historic centre of town. Vico del Gargano instead celebrates the religious festival with the processions of the ancient brotherhoods and with the “Messa Pazza” (Mad Mass): during the liturgy are played ancient sounds and is intoned a canticle in Latin, poignant and melodious, for representing the upheaval that the death of Christ will bring on the Earth. In Holy Friday of Monte Sant’Angelo is held the secular function called “Ufficio delle tenebre” (Office of darkness), which comprises the ancient rituals of the “Miserere” and of the “Terremoto”, where the confreres they prostrate themselves on the ground and, at the turn off of a candle symbolizing the death of the Redeemer, they all produce a gloomy noise, striking the church pews, for reproducing the upheaval of the nature to the death of the Redeemer. Live these rituals will make you reach out and touch all the spirituality and the deep faith of the inhabitants of the Gargano.