Pizzomunno is an imposing limestone monolith 25 meters high. It is located at the beginning of the beach south of the town, called "del Castello" (because it is dominated by the Castello Svevo) or “Scialara” or “del Pizzomunno”. Due to its grandeur it seems to stand almost as a guard of Vieste and due to its charm it has become the very symbol of the Gargano town. Some legends are linked to it, often variations of each other.
The legend of Pizzomunno and Cristalda
It is said that at the time when the current city was only a village made up of sparse huts and inhabited by fishermen, a tall and strong young man named Pizzomunno lived there. Also in the same village lived a girl of rare beauty, with long hair the color of the sun named Cristalda. The two young men fell in love, madly in love with nothing that could separate them. Pizzomunno faced the sea every day with his boat and punctually the sirens emerged from the sea waves to sing sweet songs in honor of the fisherman. The marine creatures didn't just sing, but prisoners of Pizzomunno's gaze they offered him immortality several times if he accepted to become their king and lover.
The love that the young man poured on Cristalda, however, made the offers of the sirens in vain. One of the many evenings in which the two lovers went to wait for the night on the islet that stands in front of the coast, the sirens, seized by a fit of jealousy, attacked Cristalda and dragged her into the depths of the sea. Pizzomunno chased in vain the voice of her beloved. The fishermen the following day found the young man petrified by pain in the white rock that still bears his name today. Even today, every hundred years the beautiful Cristalda returns from the abyss to reach her young lover who has returned in human form for the occasion and to relive their ancient love for just one night.
Variants of the legend want the young girl's name to be Vesta or Vieste (thus also linking the name of the city to this legend), or still want the beautiful girl to be the daughter of a marine deity who opposed her love with the young man from Vieste and that for this feeling of theirs she was punished. Other variations on the theme say that the girl was Pizzomunno's wife and that she was attacked while she was waiting on the beach for the return of her fellow fisherman.
However, there are several variations of this legend in the area. Furthermore, according to a superstition relating to Pizzomunno, if you complete a complete tour around it, you will return to the Viestana town.
In 2018 the legend of the white monolith was brought to Sanremo by Max Gazzè in the song "The legend of Cristalda and Pizzomunno" to which it was dedicated "the Scala dell'Amore".
Pizzomunno, immersed in a fantastic scenario reconstructed in CGI, also appears in the 2016 film Wonder Woman.
Pizzomunno is really easy to reach, starting from the center of Vieste we find it in all its immensity at the beginning of the Mattei seafront, south of the centre.
For those wishing to admire it from above, they will be pleasantly surprised by the panorama that can be admired from Via Bracco, in the area of the historic center that goes from the Castello Svevo to Piazzetta Petrone.
Curiosity: a very similar monolith is found in Australia, in the complex of stacks called "the 12 apostles"