Monte Sant'Angelo as a town appeared only in the 11th century. Between 1081 and 1103, Monte Sant'Angelo was the capital of a large Norman dominion under the control of Count Henry, who was a vassal of the Byzantine Empire. The grotto which houses the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel where according to legend, St. Michael appeared in 490, 492 and 493, has been the site of many famous pilgrimages, which started from Mont Saint-Michel. Pope John Paul II visited the sanctuary in 1987. In the 17th century the city became part of the Kingdom of Naples, to which it belonged until the unification of Italy in 1861.