Miracles and graces in the Abbey of San Vito
According to an ancient tradition, the Abbey of San Vito, in the homonymous hamlet of Polignano a Mare (Bari), was built in the early 9th century by Fiorenza. The princess of Salerno, of Lombard descent, had been miraculously saved by Saint Vitus when she was about to drown in the river Sele, in Campania, near the place where Vitus had been martyred six centuries earlier, by order of Emperor Diocletian.
Saint Vitus wanted his mortal remains (and the ones of his educators, Modestus and Crescentia, who were martyred with him) to be moved to the “castrum polymnianense”, “in loco qui dicitur marianus” (in a “Marian” place).
Fiorenza willingly seconded the request, and to this today, every June 14th a very popular procession culminates with the relics of the saint being welcomed into the Abbey of San Vito, from the Mother Church of the nearby Polignano.
Legends aside, the Abbey of San Vito – which, among other things, contains approximately one hundred suggestive ex voto for graces received, left by the devotees of the saint – was probably built in the 10th century by Byzantine monks. Other religious orders then took over in the following centuries, leaving us with an imposing structure that presents a charming combination of styles, from Romanesque to Baroque.
Here it is, with some views of the beautiful Apulian town.