Much more than a seaside holiday  


Defined by the New York Times as one of the most beautiful regions in the world, praised by Lonely Planet that has assigned to it the second place in the top ten of the best destinations in the world, the Apulia is one of the world destinations more attractive for the summer holidays and not only.


For understand the reasons there is only one thing to do: you must plunge headlong into this magical land, capable of combining different types of holidays, thanks to its wonderful beaches, the fascinating sea caves, the villages that seem come out directly from the fables, the places of faith, its mighty castles, the cities of art and also its gastronomic tradition.


The Apulia reserves something unexpected for everyone. Any list drawn up to indicate the most beautiful places in Apulia will not render ever justice to all the countless wonders that this region can offer.


For this, once you understand that the Apulia is not only seaside holiday, an advice: you have to choose an area at a time and visit it thoroughly. Do not you think that is enough a week for discovering all the beauties of the Apulia. Rather you return here for the next holiday.



Sea. If you dream a seaside holiday, you must know that there are 784 km of coast, to which we must add the approximately 50 km of the Tremiti Islands, for a total of 834 km. From the Gargano to the Salento you can choose between beaches, cliffs and coves characteristics, bathed by a limpid and crystalline sea.


Nature. If you want a holiday immersed in the green, in Apulia you are spoilt for choice. The nature here becomes the protagonist, with the National Park of the Murge, the National Park of Gargano, the secular Foresta Umbra, the wonderful wild orchids, the salt-pans and the lakes of Varano and Lesina.


History. For those which want to make a journey into the history, The Apulia preserving a wealth of places that tell the ancient origins of this land: from prehistory to the Magna Greece, from the imperial age to the Renaissance to the glories of baroque of Lecce. Here are passed the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Spanish and, even before, different indigenous peoples. Each of them has left its trace. Many are the sites recognized as being of historical and archaeological interest.


Faith and spirituality. The Apulia is land from strong spirituality witnessed by religious buildings of remarkable value. Symbol places of faith are Monte Sant’Angelo, with the famous Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel, destination of so many pilgrimages since the VI century for the Via Sacra Longobardorum, San Giovanni Rotondo, the city where Padre Pio lived and died, and the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari, a place of pilgrimage for the orthodox faithful throughout the world.


Folklore. Those which love the tradition and the popular music, on the other hand, cannot fail to live the countless festivals and festivals of town that animate throughout the year the region.


Villages. For fully enjoy the Apulia, you have to know its villages: towns to peak on the sea as Vieste, Rodi Garganico, Peschici, Polignano a Mare, Gallipoli and Otranto, or jewels hidden in the hinterland as Vico del Gargano, Ostuni, Cisternino, Alberobello, Monte Sant’Angelo, Locorotondo and Martina Franca. Get lost in the labyrinths of their historic centres is almost magical.


Food. It is one of the strengths of the Apulia. The cuisine here is defined poor for the use of simple and genuine ingredients, but the dishes are an explosion of taste, flavours and smells, result of recipes that are handed down from generation to generation. Without forgetting all the products recognized as slow food presidia!


Castel del Monte, situated in the territory of Andria, is considered an ingenious example of medieval architecture. One of the more imposing and mysterious castles of Italy.


Coves of Castellana, among the best known attractions even abroad, are a show of the nature carved in the cliff in the course of the time.


Trulli of Alberobello, symbol of the Apulia all over the world, are recognized like UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Valley of Itria. Located in the heart of Apulia, it extends luxuriant among extensive olive groves, vineyards, manor farms and the characteristic Trulli.


Tremiti Islands. Considered the pearls of the Adriatic, are an archipelago formed from five islands, situated in front of the coasts of the Gargano. A coffer of natural wonders.


Sea Caves of Gargano. An incredible show, result of secular work of the wind and of the sea, to be discovered absolutely with on a boat excursion.


Foresta Umbra, the natural protected area of the Gargano National Park, that it accommodates various species of secular trees, flowers of rare beauty, between which the spectacular wild orchids, ornamental plants and exemplary animals.


Lakes of Varano and Lesina. Located in the north coast of Gargano, are both separated from the sea by a thin strip of land.


Gargano. The splendid Gargano promontory is one of the natural areas most luxuriant and amazing than all the Apulia.


The peninsula of Salento. It is located in the southernmost part of Apulia and hosts small and charming seaside towns and wonderful beaches.


Baroque of Lecce. It is a genre of baroque unique in the world because it indissolubly tied to the qualities typical of the stone of Lecce.


Other localities


Gargano, an entire world to discover  


You say Gargano and think “holidays to the sea”. And, in fact, with its 170 km of coastline, where alternate beaches, pinewoods, creeks, cliffs, dunes, faraglioni, coves and bays, this is the paradise for the lovers of coastal landscapes. And then, a few miles from the coast, the Tremiti Islands: enchanted pearls in a sea from live above, below and in each side.


The Gargano, however, is not only sea. For knowing it fully you must enter into heart of the Gargano National Park where the diversity of landscapes leaves you breathless: from the Foresta Umbra, the largest Italian forest of broadleaf, to the lakes of Lesina and Varano, separated from the sea by thin flaps of land, from large karst plateaus, rich in dolines, to the wonderful sea caves of which is strewn the coast, from the wonderful native orchids, which in the Gargano have the highest concentration of Europe, to the necropolis and to the archaeological sites that testify to the important past of this land.


Exploring this land, no will escape to you the deep-rooted faith and the deep spirituality of which it is soaked the Gargano. This is testified by the countless churches and abbeys of considerable merit, as well as the places that represent the points of reference for the church of all times, as the sanctuaries of Monte Sant’Angelo and San Giovanni Rotondo, destinations for pilgrims from all over the world.


During your holiday on the Gargano, for touch with hand the true soul of this land, don’t you make less than immerse yourself in the many picturesque and characteristic villages. Perched on the sea or on the sides of a mountain here, between the historic towns rich in history, traditions and folklore, and with the simple flavours but intense of the local gastronomy, you will live really suggestive experiences.


Forget your watch and abandon yourselves in a slow travel because on the Gargano there is a whole world to discover.




The Foresta Umbra is the green lung of the Gargano National Park, a millenary forest that extends to 800 meters in height and over 10,000 hectares, with very high beeches, over 2500 botanical species and the 70% of varieties of native orchids found in Europe. Here reign the badgers, foxes, wild boars, squirrels, deers, woodpeckers and many other species of animals. You can cross the 15 equipped paths and visit the naturalistic museum.


The Native Orchids. In the Gargano is located one of the highest European concentrations of native orchids, that every spring attract enthusiasts from every part of the world. To admire them, you must explore especially the Foresta Umbra, Bosco Quarto, Monte Civita and the shores of Varano Lake from mid-April to end of May.


Trabucchi. Along the stretch of coast between Vieste and Peschici you will see giant contraptions to peak on the water. They are very ancient fishing systems with large footboards anchored to reefs and long wooden rods, ropes and pulleys.


The Dolines. The promontory of Gargano is rich in dolines, large karst depressions, similar to small craters, generated by the erosion of the atmospheric agents. Among these there is the dolina Pozzantina, in the territory of San Nicandro Garganico, the largest in Europe, and the dolina Centopozzi, 2 km from Rignano Garganico, the third largest in Europe.


Oasis of citrus plantations. Between Rodi Garganico, Ischitella and Vico del Gargano there is a high concentration of citrus plantations: The blonde orange and the lemon Femminello IGP of the Gargano, the oldest in Italy, are Slow Food presidium.


Lakes of Lesina and Varano. They are two ornithological paradises, perfect for birdwatching. They are coastal lakes separated from the sea by sand dunes and rich vegetation. You can walk along the shores of the lakes at sunset, cross the lagoons by boat and explore the lush nature of Bosco Isola and Isola Varano.


Archaeological sites and necropolis. In the course of the centuries, the Gargano has been place of passage for many civilizations: each of them has left their traces. To see the Grotta Paglicci, in Rignano Garganico, where were found artifacts of parietal art, skeletons, securities objects and lithic instruments. You should also visit the locality of Avicenna, in Carpino, probably the seat of the ancient Uriah as show the necropolis of the Roman villa and the terme. Among the other sites of archaeological interest stand out also the Necropolis La Salata in Vieste, the Necropolis of Monte Saraceno in Mattinata and the Necropolis of Monte Pucci in Calenella.


Sanctuaries and Abbeys. Many the religious itineraries that can be done on the Gargano, starting from the visit to the beautiful churches. On all of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore of Siponto, in Manfredonia, of the sixth century AD, and the Cathedral of Manfredonia. Not to be missed also the Abbey of Pulsano, monastic complex built in 591 AD, around which you can find the hermitages of Pulsano, and the abbey of Calena in Peschici. To these are added the Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel, in Monte Sant’Angelo and the Sanctuary of St. Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, two of the religious destinations most visited in Italy.


The Sea Caves of the Gargano. There are about 128 sea caves in the stretch of coast between Peschici, Vieste and Mattinata. They are veritable cavities created from the sea and the wind, each with a shape and different colors. They have bizarre names as well as the ancient fishermen have baptized them. The excursion is made every day from 1 April to 31 October.


Other localities


Where history is interwoven with the lagoon  

A holiday on the Gargano also means to discover its suggestive villages. Among these definitely worth a visit Cagnano Varano, a charming town situated north of Gargano, characterized by a dominant location on the suggestive Varano Lake that wets a part of its territory.


The popular tradition traces to the ancient city of Uriah, the roman colony disappeared following the floods of Varano Lake. What is certain is that Cagnano Varano results to be one of the first inhabited centers of Gargano. The history tells us that in the Middle Ages it was a feud of some families which, in turn, occupied the Baronial Palace, also called Casale, an ancient Norman fortress, renovated several times over the years.


Land of peasants and shepherds, the history of this town was for a long time turbulent due to the various dominations suffered. Today one can still see the remains of the ancient walls that protected the center from attacks coming from the sea.


Cagnano Varano is however also known for the famous Grotta di San Michele (Cave of St. Michael), one of the most visited destinations of pilgrimage del Gargano: this is a sanctuary, located a few km to the west of the town, where tradition has it that the Saint appeared to some of the inhabitants of the place before going to Monte Sant’Angelo.


Not to be missed during your visit in Cagnano Varano, also the historic center, the seaplane baseIvo Monti“, the Mother Church of Santa Maria della Pietà and of course the near Varano Lake, considered one of the most important resources for the town (significant is the mussel farming and breeding of eels). To understand the historical bond that exists between the inhabitants of Cagnano and this lagoon, just visit the so-called “Pannoni“, the artificial caves situated next the homonymous lake.


The historic heritage. The territory of Cagnano is steeped in traces dating back to the Paleolithic Age: the various iconographies and frescoes that decorate some buildings testify the settlements dating back already to the early Christian era.


The beach of Capoiale. It is located on the tongue of land situated between Varano Lake and the Adriatic Sea, in the locality of Capoiale, seaside hamlet of Cagnano. Crossing the State Reserve of Varano Island, with its majestic pines and eucalyptus trees, you will find yourself to sink your feet into a soft and clear sand, ideal beach for spending a relaxing beach holiday.


The State Reserve of Varano Island. It is an area of 145 hectares of Gargano National Park, between the territory of Cagnano Varano and Ischitella, which stands out for its dense vegetation near the coastal dune with majestic pine forests of pine of Aleppo and maritime pine, eucalyptus trees and a rich Mediterranean maquis. A concentrate of biodiversity in the Gargano.

The Cave of San Michele. Located 3 km from the center of Cagnano Varano, is one of the destinations of the faith more frequented of Gargano, especially during the celebration of San Michele, which is celebrated on 8 May. And it is here, in fact, that, according to the local tradition, Archangel Michael stood before traveling to Monte Sant’Angelo to define his abode. Dating back to the Paleolithic period, the cave holds altars and frescoes that testify to the presence of man, but also stalactites and moss that remind its karstic nature. Of particular interest to its inside there is the Pila of Santa Lucia, a spring that collects the waters of the oozing. According to the tradition, dipping their hands in holy water and passing them on the eyelids, it heals eye diseases.


The historic center. If you enter among its narrow alleyways, you will notice white houses very close, built in such a way as to protect the inhabitants from strong winter winds. Here are still visible the ruins of the ancient medieval walls, between which the Arch of San Michele and the entrance of the Baronial Palace. Really characteristic then the entire nucleus of the village called “Lu Caùt” which until 1600 was the heart of Cagnano. The term Caùt derives from the conformation of the houses that seem to holes (caùti) dug into the rock.


The Pannoni. Are artificial caves dug in the tuff, located along the southern side of Varano Lake. Their origins are ancient: inside them, in fact, have been found finds dating back to the Early Middle Ages. In time took various functions: were used as dwellings, as burial places and finally as a deposit for fishermen. It is not excluded that the area has been frequented in the past for the presence of a number of springs, including the homonymous spring Pannoni and, to a few hundred meters, the spring Bagno.


The Church of Santa Maria della Pietà. Situated in the historical center of the town, it is one of the places of worship most visited by tourists and citizens of Cagnano. Built between the XV and the XVII century and consecrated in 1676, it has a baroque style with a majestic bell tower which dominates the town. Inside you can admire many artworks by the high historical and artistic value.


San Nicola Imbuti. It is situated along the western shore of Varano Lake, about 10 Km from Cagnano Varano. Seen from afar might seem an old abandoned village, in reality is an important historical site of Gargano. So named for the funnel shape that extends toward the lake, the town was first a Benedictine Monastery, destinazion of many pilgrims going to Monte Sant’Angelo, but its importance grew when, in the second decade of the twentieth century, to counter attacks coming from the opposite shore of the Adriatic, there was built the seaplane base dedicated to lieutenant machinist Ivo Monti. The complex of buildings in colonial style, today in a state of abandonment, it was used as a military base during the first and the second world war and in 1918-20, for promoting the worship to all staff of the seaplane base, it was also realized the Church of Santa Barbara of which today are visible only a few remains.


The Museum of Territory and Culture of the lagoon. Located at the former Pesa di Bagno, where once was done the weighing of the fish, it was opened in 2015 and houses the collection of finds, documents, photographs and objects on the territory of Cagnano and on culture of Varano Lagoon. Depart from here also excursions to the sites of historical and naturalistic interest of Varano Lake, between which the ancient village of Pannoni, the settlement of prehistoric era and late ancient period of Bagno, the Cave of San Michele in Cagnano Varano, Varano Island and the paths that retrace the ancient sheep tracks around the lake.


  • Feast of Varano Crucifix: 23 April
  • Fair and Patronal Feast of San Michele and San Cataldo: 7-10 May
  • Cagnano Living Festival: End of July
  • Feast of the Madonna del Carmine: 16 July
  • Fish Festival: 13 August



Others localities


Between folk, history and flavours of the Gargano  


It is a gracious centre of the Gargano located between the Varano Lake and the Foresta Umbra. Its old village, which was founded around the year 1000, is one of the most suggestive of the Gargano National Park and represents a typical example of architecture of Gargano: steep streets, narrow alleys, houses leaning one against other with steps that lead to the upper floors.


Known for the production of oil and broad beans, “guarded” by Slow Food, the town has become a popular destination in Apulia thanks to Carpino Folk Festival, the event dedicated to popular music and its influences. The event, held every year in the first decade of August, has allowed also to revive and learn about “I Cantori di Carpino” which reinterpreting ancient tarantellas with casement guitars, they gave life to the development and research on popular music of Gargano and Southern Italy.


Carpino however arouses a lot of interest from the historical-cultural point of view. Worth visiting the numerous churches of the old town, including the fourteenth century Church of San Cirillo, which, with the exception of its Romanesque portal, comes in the Baroque form, and the Mother Church, in the heart of the most ancient district of town.



The Carpino Folk Festival, which is held in the first decade of August, is an event born in the town of Gargano for preserve the heritage of folk music. From 10 years now the event livening up the summer with the traditional musics of Gargano. In addition to attracting enthusiasts and technicians, this festival is a strong appeal for tourists attracted also by the distinguished guests participating. To interest the public are also I Cantori di Carpino that sing a musical repertoire among the most suggestive and ancient of the Apulian territory.


The Biogenetic Nature Reserve State, established in 1977, falls within the territory of Carpino and the neighboring Ischitella. It is a protected nature reserve of Gargano that extends over 300 hectares of wood and is characterized by valleys and small valleys that degrade toward the Varano Lake. The flora is distinguished by the presence, in addition to the holm-oaks, also of beech trees, which reach lower altitudes with respect to their conditions, turkey oaks, hazels, holm-oaks and Italian oaks. Also the fauna is rich, characterized by the most important mammals of the Park, such as the wild cat, the roe deer and various species of birds. The Romandato torrent flows in the reserve and flows into the Adriatic Sea in the territory of Rodi Garganico.

The Castle stands on the highest point of Carpino. It was built by the Normans between 1150 and 1160 and then restored and enlarged by the Swabians. It remains today only the old tower, topped by a cylindrical building because the remainder of the building has been converted for use by civilian housing.


The Minutillo Caves, located a few kilometers from the town of Carpino, are of great historical and natural interest. They are composed by twenty karstic cavities in which there are evident the signs of medieval civilization. Some are unexplored.


Archaeological sites. Around 1950 the area of Carpino was the subject of studies and archaeological excavations to find what was left of civilization Uriah. During these excavations were found many coins, skeletons, pottery, agricultural tools and valuables, now kept in museums in Italy and Europe.


  • Patronal festival of San Cirillo: 18 may
  • Festival of the brooms: in the May month
  • Carpino Folk Festival: first decade of August
  • Festival of the Oil of olive and the broad beans: in the August month
  • Festival of San Rocco: 16 August
  • Festival of Madonna: in the October month

Other localities


Holidays in the green heart of the Gargano  


Are you undecided between a sea side holiday or a mountain holiday? The Gargano melts every doubt. If you think, in fact, that this territory is only crystal clear sea and golden beaches, you are mistaken. In the Gargano National Park there is an area that arrives until 832 meters of altitude and that it is extended for beyond 10.000 hectares of surface, much to be nicknamed the green lung of the Gargano. It is the millenarian Foresta Umbra, a protected nature reserve located in the zone center-oriental of the Gargano, that it boasts a rich and ancient vegetation, so thick that it earned the name “Umbra”.


The Foresta Umbra is one of the forests best conserved of Italy, beyond to being considered the beech wood lowest of Europe. Here the beeches, in fact, are located in altitudes much lower of the classics 800 meters, merit this of the very special climatic conditions of the Gargano. According to some, the name “Umbra” comes from “Umbri”, an ancient people belonging to the Celtic branch, which used to live in the forest robbing and pillaging the shepherds; a simpler explanation argues that the name of the forest comes from its characteristic darkness (as a matter of fact, the Italian word “ombra” means “shadow”).


If you visit, you’ll remain really speechless. It’s amazing how just 15km from the golden beaches of the Gargano, one finds oneself in an environment at part, almost mountainous. This is the realm of lovers of nature, trekking, cycling, but also of photo enthusiasts which, with the colors of the forest that mutate from season to season, here they realized fantastic shots.


You can admire it as more you like: on foot, walking through one of the fascinating predisposed trails, with excursions in trekking, pedaling in mountain bike or simply stopping to listen the sounds of the forest and its inhabitants: roe deer, wild boars, beech martens, woodpeckers and many other.


The Flora of the Foresta Umbra boasts beyond 2000 species vegetables, much to make to attribute to the Gargano the name of botanical garden. In the high zone of the forest predominate the Beeches, in the intermediate zone the Turkey oaks and Oaks and in lowland zone the Holm oaks.At these species are also added the Italian Oak, the Downy Oak and noble species such as the Italian Maple, the White Hornbeam, the Field Maple, the Sycamore Maple, the Manna Ash and the Yew.


The Fauna of the Forest is richest of species animals that find here their habitat natural. Some are common species like wild boars, roe deer, weasels and woodpeckers, other rare ones like fallow deers and wild cats. Turning for the Forest, you’ll also meet foxes, hedgehogs, squirrels, martens, mouflons and birds of prey like the eagle owl, the peregrine falcon and the goshawk. Always remember that is their house. You are the guests, therefore you must to behave as such.


A pic-nic in the Foresta Umbra is an experience not to be missed during the holidays on the Gargano. Thanks to the appropriate equipped areas is possible spend a delightful day in the respect of the nature, to lunch encircled only from the luxuriant vegetation, relax between the harmonious sounds of the animals which inhabit the forest or to find somewhere cool from the summer heat.


The wild Orchids color and perfume intensely the picturesque underbrush of the Foresta Umbra. It counts, in fact, that on a total of about 230 present species in Italy (about 500 in Europe), 85 species, belonging to 17 different genera, are located right in the Foresta Umbra. To admire them, just going into the Foresta Umbra from April to late May.


The Foresta Umbra is crossed by 15 trails realized by the State Forestry Corps. Among them you can choose the most suitable for you, on the basis of the time available and your physical strength.

The Small Lake of Cutino, better known like Laghetto d’Umbra, is an artificial lake peopled by numerous forms of animal life: fish red, fish cat, frogs, toads, turtles and ducks. A true oasis of peace, by different colors depending on the weather and season.


The Visitors Center is the reference point for those arriving in Foresta Umbra. Here you will find the natural history museum and an outer zone that illustrates the traditional activity of the woodsmen and coalmen. At the visitors center you can also rent mountain bikes and buy the map of the trails, a guide to discover the secrets of the place symbol of the Gargano National Park.


The Natural History Museum, in the area of the Visitor Center, has a section dedicated to the flora, an archaeological section, where displays a series of artifacts dating back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic, and a section dedicated to the fauna of Gargano, with more than 200 stuffed animals living in the Park. It is open from Palm Sunday until 4 October, from 09:00 to 18:00.


The Reserve of the fallow deers is in a fenced area a few meters from the Visitors Centre. Here you will be able to give to eat at the wonderful specimens with maize grains purchased at the museum. Will themselves to approach because they recognize the bag of maize. Ideal to stimulate children’s interest.


Gioca bosco is a recreational-didactic area set up inside the forest and destined to the children. Here children can play in the woods and with the forest. The area, in fact, was conceived as a new way to offer young visitors the forest environment, also focusing on the emotional sensations.


  • Umbra Forest Folk: in July



Others localities


Holidays between history and culture of the Gargano  


To fully appreciate a holiday in Gargano, you have to discover its towns. Between the municipalities that deserve absolutely a visit there is Ischitella, a characteristic town from the very ancient origins, as evidenced by its walls.


Situated on the depositor North of the Gargano, the town rises on a hill of olive trees and Mediterranean spot to approximately 300 meters above sea level, from which it dominates the Adriatic Sea and the Varano Lake, position that in the past has given at the town the role of defensive emplacement.


Ischitella was, in fact, an ancient Swabian fortress of which today remain the doors of access to the historic centre and the Castle of the 1600. Of remarkable artistic interest the Romanesque church of Sant’Eustachio and the Convent of San Francesco on whose cobblestones stands out the famous tree of Saint Francis of Assisi characterized, as it wants the legend, from the roots to the place of the leaves.


Not to be missed the ancient village of Ischitella, called “La Sottana”, that stands out from the part most new called instead “Ponte”. Entering you’ll come across a tangle of narrow streets and enchanting corners that enclose centuries of life and of history. Here you will find also the house of Pietro Giannone, the celebrated jurist and historian lived to horse between XVII and the XVIII century, to which Ischitella he has given the birthplace.


All the territory of Ischitella is studded of water springs between which “La Grotta del Tasso”, “La Fontana”, “L’Acqua delle Anitre” and “Le Fontanelle”, but there are lots of other. Will not escape to you the beautiful landscape visible from the inhabited center: the view stretches from the surrounding hills to the Adriatic Sea until to the Tremiti Islands and to the Varano Lake and, if the sky is particularly clear, until to the Croatian coast and Abruzzo coast.


The Historic Centre is very characteristic, formed up of narrow streets and whitewashed houses terraced,often built on the rock, which they “look” to the sea. It is dominated by the ancient Castle.


The Archaeological Patrimony. The locality of “Civita”, situated in the territory of Ischitella, is declared zone of archaeological interest. Located on the flanks of the Monte Civita, on the side south of the inhabited center of Ischitella, is considered a mine of the history of Gargano. Here, in fact, extends an immense necropolis, with graves defined to “saddlebag” dating back according to the studies at the period between the fifth and fourth centuries BC. The necropolis, according to experts, would reveal a presence of the Samnites and Etruscan warriors. Suggestive is the panorama that can be admired from the top of the hill.


Varano Island. It is the Nature reserve comprised in the Gargano National Park that is developed for an extension of approximately 150 hectares, between the towns of Cagnano Varano and Ischitella, constituted from a pinewood of Aleppo pines. A veritable treasure trove of biodiversity in the Gargano.

The Ancient Castle, today known with the name of Palazzo Ventrella or Palazzo Pinto, constructed in the XII century, was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1649 and entirely reconstructed in the 1714 from prince Francesco Emanuele Pinto, from which it has then taken the name. Only a small roundish fragment, in medieval style and situated in the part south of the palace, has remained visible. The halls inside the Castle have rich decorations on the ceilings.


The Convent of San Francesco conserve the monument to prince Pinto and interesting frescoes of the three hundred. On the churchyard there is the famous tree with the roots to the place of the leaves, that it wants it miraculously sprouted from the stick that Saint Francis of Assisi, passing for Ischitella while he went in pilgrimage to Monte Sant’Angelo, planted in land when he knelt down in order to pray. Even today, although it is dry, the tree attracts the curiosity of many of the faithful and tourists.


The Church of Sant’Eustachio was erected in the seven hundred from prince Pinto on the ruins of the large door of the town, collapsed after the earthquake. Moreover, the church of Sant’Eustachio is connected to the Ventrella castle through of the secrets tunnels, affording so to the noble ones of the time of being able itself to move without being seen from the population. Inside the church there are the statues of Sant’Eustachio, patron of Ischitella, of his wife and of his sons.


The Abbey of San Pietro de Cripta Nova or in Cuppis (from the Latin language that means “between the hills”), located just outside the inhabited centre, is of roman age: of it there is already talk in1058 in a document of Pope Stefano IX. Now unfortunately are visible only the perimeter walls.


The Church of Santa Annunziata, better known as the Church of Santissimo Crocifisso of Varano, built in the tenth century and enlarged in the sixteenth century, is situated on the banks of Varano Lake. Inside is preserved a wooden crucifix dating back to 1300, whereto the inhabitants are very devoted. According to legend, in 1509, in a period of severe drought, there was a procession and on April 23 a blessed rain saved the crops. Since then the April 23 of each year the procession is repeated and takes place a suggestive popular celebration.


The Romandato Torrent develops entirely in the bed, now dried up, of an ancient river and is considered the “Canyon” of Gargano. Along this path, created over millennia by the erosive force of the torrent, you can read the geological history of the Gargano. The trail is rich in flint nodules and sources of spring water. The flourishing vegetation takes on the appearance of a “gallery”, nearly to want protect this treasure trove of biodiversity.


  • Festival of the SS. Crocifisso of Varano: 23 April
  • Festival of Sant’Eustachio, Patron of Ischitella: 20 May
  • Festival of the Assunta and San Rocco: 15-16 August
  • Procession of the boats to Foce Varano: 23 August
  • National Prize of Poetry in the dialects of Italy “Pietro Giannone”: August



Other localities


An oasis of the nature between sea and lake  


It is not easy to find an atmosphere so suggestive in which passing the holidays on the Gargano: from a part 10 kilometers of beach of finest sand washed by the sea and embraced by greens and perfumed pinewoods, from the other, at only one kilometer away, the fascinating panoramas of the Lake. In means a true coffer of natural biodiversity of the Gargano National Park. It is Varano Island, the isthmus that divides the Varano Lake from the Adriatic Sea, to north of the Gargano.


This thin strip of land accommodates the State Natural Reserve of Varano Island, an area of 145 hectares which is distinguished by its dense vegetation near the coastal dune: protagonists of this wonderful natural environment are the pinewoods of Aleppo Pine and Maritime Pine, many of which contorted from the marine breeze, and the majestic eucalyptuses that dominate the rich undergrowth typical of the Mediterranean maquis which stands out among rosemary, birds foot, myrtle, filifera, sarsaparille, cistus and asparagus.


Here they find refuge much species animals, such as the fox, the hedgehog and the hare. Many also the exemplary of present birds along this cordon of land: the turtledove, the hoopoe, the hawk, the golden oriole and the woodcock; while among aquatic birds the gray heron, red or white, the egret and ducks of various species. There are also numerous migratory species that in various periods of the year find an ideal habitat in the Natural Reserve of the Varano Island.


Coveted destination for the trekking enthusiasts and for birdwatchin glovers, the best way to enjoy the wonders of this place is only one: walking.


The very long beach, more than 10 km of finest sand, embraced by the luxuriant Pinewood.


Varano Lake, the largest lake of southern Italy.


The site of Saint Nicola Imbuti, visible along the road that connects Cagnano Varano to Varano Lake, was an important military base during the world wars and before even a settlement of Benedictine monks.


The Cave of San Michele is situated on a promontory at three kilometers from the center of Cagnano Varano. Here, according to popular tradition, appeared Michael the Archangel.


  • Festival of the Holiest Crucifix of Varano: 23 April
  • Patronal festival of San Michele and San Cataldo in Cagnano Varano: from 7 to 10 May
  • Festival of the Fish in Cagnano Varano: 13 August



Other localities


An angle of paradise in the Adriatic  


A holiday on the Gargano cannot be said completes without to have visited Tremiti Islands. Defined the “pearls of the Adriatic Sea”, they are found to approximately 12 miles from the coast of the Gargano and are a coffer of incredible beauty all to discover.


The archipelago, protected reserve marine of the Gargano National Park, is composed of five islands. The largest is San Domino, the island that accommodates also the majority of the receptive activities. San Nicola instead, inhabited from several orders of monks in order almost 1000 years, today is the administrative center of the archipelago. Capraia (or Caprara), completely deserted, is famous for the wealth of its backdrops. Cretaccio, little more than a rock, is the smallest island of the archipelago, nestled own beside San Domino. The island of Pianosa is the farthest, approximately 11 miles of distance from the others, and is integral marine reserve.


The pristine nature, the crystalline water and the variety of the colors of the backdrops of these islands attract to every year thousands of visitors from all the world. But to render the archipelago an irresistible stage it is also the charm of its history that gets lost between myth and legend. It’s said, in fact, that the islands have been born at the hands of the hero Diomedes, which threw in sea five rocks carried with himself from Troy, which they resurfaced as islands. The legend wants also that Diomedes was buried in the Tremiti Islands and that its men have been transformed by the goddess Aphrodite in marine birds, called “diomedee”, then still today with their song they continue to cry the dead women of their head. Here because Tremiti Islands are calls also “Diomedee Islands “.


In order to reach the Tremiti Islands is sufficient embarking from harbours of Vieste, Rodi Garganico and Peschici on fast and comfortable ferryboats with daily departure.



San Nicola, also not being the greatest island of the archipelago, is that which encloses in itself all the history and the myth of the Tremiti Islands. Over the centuries there followed one another communities of monks that gave life at the picturesque historic centre that is seen still today. To testify the richest political, economic and spiritual past of this island it is the imposing Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare, rich of works of extraordinary beauty. The island was used like penal colony and exile already at the times of the roman empire: in it lived and died also the granddaughter of the emperor Augustus, Julia, expelled from Rome in order to have betrayed the husband. Besides here, until the last century, antifascist political prisoners, as Sandro Pertini, had served their sentence. Only island to being inhabited also in winter, here is continued to still speak a dialect very similar to the Neapolitan, as to the times in which the Apulia and the Gargano they were under the influence of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.


San Domino is the only one of the five islands to being completely covered from Mediterranean spot and is also the only one where the cars can have access, but only those of the residents. During the twenty-year period fascist, it was a penal colony for homosexuals.


Capraia is the largest island after San Domino and also the wildest. Completely uninhabited, is an expanse of shrubs of various kinds, among which the plants of capers, by which originates another island name: Capperaia. Its sea beds, rich of vegetation and fish, accommodate the famous submerged statue of Padre Pio and are the perfect destination for long immersions of snorkeling. Between its bays, there is the Architiello, a work of natural art that encloses a little lake green emerald. It is said that if two lovers exchange a kiss under this arch, then they will love each other for a lifetime.


Cretaccio, the smaller island of the Tremiti Islands, is a species of great cliff that appears between San Domino and San Nicola to some hundreds of meters of distance. The island is uninhabited and arid and is the one that most lends itself to become theater of legends. One of these wants above all that on Cretaccio it is gone around, especially during the stormiest nights, the ghost of a prisoner fugitive from a penal colony and beheaded here. Besides Cretaccio, there is the stumbling block la Vecchia (the old woman), call so because always second the legends, appear the ghost of an old woman which was spinning.


Pianosa, to twenty or so kilometers from the other islands, is the more mysterious island of the archipelago. It is anintact marine reserve, with prohibition of landing, navigation and bathing within the 500 meters from the coast, and is reachable only after authorization for reasons of study and research.


The sea beds of the Tremiti Islands make this archipelago a paradise for divers. You can spot dozens of ichthyic species. The sea beds besides are rich in wrecks, hidden treasures dating to the first century BC. The crystal clear water makes visible colored sponges, starfish, colorful annelids, anemones and red gorgonian. If you swim in the open sea, you may encounter also marine turtles and dolphins.

A turn of the island in boat affords to discover the wonderful coasts of Tremiti Islands: A succession of vertiginous cliffs, coves and inlets of rare beauty, sea caves, rock arches and faraglioni carved from the sea. During the tour you will admire the Grotta del Bue Marino, the Grotta delle Viole, the Grotta delle Rondinelle besides the rock works realized by sea and wind like the Scoglio dell’Elefante, the Ripa dei Falconi or the Punta del Diavolo. And it is only via sea that is possible to reach the most beautiful coves, like the wonderful Spiaggia dei Pagliai in San Domino.


The Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare in San Nicola is a masterpiece of medieval art that from the top dominates the whole island. Built by the Benedictines in 1045, it has been modified in the fifteenth century, commissioned by the Lateran Canons. The church preserves several jewels of art, including, on the high altar, a wooden polyptych of the Venetian school of the ‘400, a beautiful crucifix on wood of the twelfth century, a wooden statue of one meter representing the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus and the “Underfloor of mosaic”.


The Grave of Diomedes is so called a Greek grave to circular plant situated in the island of San Nicola. It is found in the campaign, behind the inhabited center of the island. Do not expect to find a headstone with epitaph, but according to the legend it is here that Diomedes was buried and a sign indicates it.


The Statue of Padre Pio is currently the greatest submarine statue of the world. Realized by Domenico Norcia, sculptor born in Foggia, it was placed in 1998 near the Capraia island and located about thirteen meters of depth. Its dimensions are really imposing: 3 meters of height, for a weight of 12,25 quintals more 110 quintals of basement! In order to admire it just do simply an immersion in that point.


  • Sea Festival in order to remember the institution of marine reserve: 4 July
  • Festival of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 15 August
  • Patronal festival in honor of S. Assunta: 16 August
  • Historic procession: 16/18 August
  • Festival of San Nicola di Mira: 6 December



Others localities


Between wonderful natural landscapes and mysterious legends  


The fascination of the Varano Lake is the demonstration that a holiday on the Gargano goes very beyond the blue of the sea and the green of the Forest. It is situated on the northern coast of the Gargano and is the largest Italian coastal lake and the largest in southern Italy.


Traditionally is called lake, but in reality it is a lagoon: fed by many springs of fresh water from the nearby mountains, it is separated from the Adriatic Sea by a strip of land along just one kilometer, called Varano Island, but communicates with it through two canals: The Canal of Varano and the Canal of Capoiale.


Famous for the fishing for eels and mussels and for the number of waterfowl that live there, such as ducks, herons, flamingos and cormorants, the Varano Lake is a true haven for local fishermen which every day with their sandali (the typical local boats) animate the silent immobility of the Lake, becoming, even their, part of lacustrine landscapes really fascinating.


With an excursion boat on the Varano Lake, you can admire sceneries of rare beauty: the lake banks covered of secular olive trees and rich of caves and natural sources, the Crucifix that emerges from waters in the middle of the Lake and the small church of the SS. Annunziata located on the eastern shore of the lake, where it’s guarded a beautiful Crucifix of the 1330 venerated by the inhabitants of Ischitella and surrounding towns. For discovering the landscaping and wilderness beauties of this place it’s possible also follow the lakeside on foot or by bicycle.


During the Second World War, the Varano Lake was used as a support base for submarines and seaplanes engaged in war actions in the Adriatic Sea.


A boat excursion to enjoy the charme of Varano Lake: you will discover the shores of the Lake rich of caves and natural springs, you will admire the suggestive Crucifix that emerges from waters of the Lake, until to arrive to the Sanctuary of the Crucifix of Varano, where you will be able to moor for visit the little church and learn its history.


Cross the lakefront on foot or by bicycle for discovering the natural and wilderness beauty of this place.

The Church of Annunziata, known by the name of the Holiest Crucifix, is located on the eastern shore of Varano Lake. An old legend has it that this little church, which already existed in the 16th century, is the only witness of the city of Uriah, buried by sea for divine punishment. Inside it houses a beautiful wooden crucifix dating back to 1300, to which local residents ascribe miraculous powers: in 1509, during a time of severe drought, there was a procession and the 23 April the rain down came to save the crops. Since then the procession is repeated every year, on the same day, within a suggestive popular festival.


The Crucifix that emerges from the waters can be admired on the East side of Varano Lake, near the shore on which stands the Church of Annunziata.


The sunset over Varano Lake is a sight that never fails to surprise for the wealth of reflections from different shades.


The site of Saint Nicola Imbuti, located along the road connecting Cagnano Varano to Varano Lake, initially was a settlement of a Benedictine monastery, in 1058, and crossing point of many pilgrims direct to Monte Sant’Angelo, then during the First and Second World War, was the site of a military seaplane base dedicated to Ivo Monti. Here they carried out all the activities needed on a military base, from dormitories to the offices, from the training of pilots to the repair of seaplanes. Of considerable strategic importance especially in the conflict between Italy and Austria, the military base after the wars fell into disuse up to appear today in a state of total abandonment.


  • Festival of the Holiest Crucifix of Varano: 23 April
  • Festival of the Holiest Crucifix with procession of the boats on the Lake: 23 August



Other localities


Lesina, between sea, forest and lagoon 

Situated on a small peninsula on the southern shore of the Lake Lesina, one of the largest lagoons of the Mediterranean, Lesina is the northern gate of access to the Gargano.


Frequented since prehistory, as witnessed by the many finds of different ages found in the area and in the waters of the lagoon, the village was founded by a group of dalmatians fishermen attracted by the abundance of fish in the lagoon, before being occupied by the Greeks and Romans, for then also becoming the destination of refuge of the inhabitants of Lucera and of the Tremiti Islands. From 1254 until the ‘500 it was also an important religious center because episcopal seat.


Today the town preserves its historic charm both in the ancient village, with the imposing Cathedral dedicated to Santissima Annunziata (Most Holy Annunciation) and the Palazzo Vescovile (Episcopal Palace) dating back to the ‘200, but also outside the town with the ruins of the Abbey of Santa Maria Ripalta, near the Fortore river, the site of the “Pietre Nere” (“Black Stones”), the complex of volcanic rocks dating back to the Triassic period and the charming Island of San Clemente which with the low tide emerges from the Lake.


The true wealth of the town, however, it is constituted by the extraordinary natural heritage which occupies the entire eastern part of the Lake Lesina and that since 1981 constitutes “Natural Reserve of Animal Restocking” becoming really an oasis of wildlife protection and representing, with its surface of 930 hectares, an integral part of the Gargano National Park.


A five minutes by car from the small town there is Marina di Lesina, the seaside resort directly overlooking the Adriatic Sea and destination of holidays in Gargano. Equipped with hotels, campsites, tourist villages and aquatic parks, Marina di Lesina has been repeatedly rewarded among the italian tourist resorts for the purity of its sea waters.


Lesina is a destination obligated also for the lovers of the flavours of the Gargano and its typical products. The renowned eel, that has become Slow Food Presidium, in fact, lives in the Lake Lesina and it’s very much appreciated by chefs and nutritionists both for its high nutritional values that for its excellent flavour.


The Lesina Lagoon is certainly the first destination of a tourist itinerary in the territory of Lesina. Officially counted among the lakes of Italy, its waters have a very similar configuration to that of the sea, although in it flow into several torrents of fresh water. It represents a very particular natural and ornithological zone with more than 20 thousand individuals of birds and about 200 species that they find nourishment in its waters including Mallards, Pink Flamingoes, Knights of Italy, Coots, Herons, Egrets and more. Do not miss the panoramic tour of the lagoon aboard the “sandalo”, the traditional boat used in the past for crossing the lagoon.


The Visits-Aquarium Center of the Lagoon of Lesina certainly deserves a visit. Inside you can watch an aquarium of fish species in the lagoon, with 14 fish tanks, the first in Europe of brackish water, a museum section devoted to naturalistic aspects that characterize the territory and the lagoon, and an ethnographic section called “Casa del Pescatore” (“House of Fisherman”) dedicated to the culture of community of Lesina, to its costumes and to its traditions. The lovers of sport fishing can enjoy guided excursions or take part in various fishing trips for refining their technique. The visits center can be visited from Tuesday to Friday from 8.00 to 13.00 and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8.00 to 13.00 and from 15.00 to 20.00.

The Island of San Clemente  emerges from the lake with the low tide, with the characteristic cross placed for recall the ancient church, offering a truly evocative scenery. It is what remains of an ancient monastery, first destroyed by the Saracens and then rebuilt in 1165 by the will of the Abbot of San Clemente and finally submerged by the waters because of a seaquake. It is located about 400 meters to the north of Lesina.


The Abbey of Ripalta is situated in the area Ripalta, a hamlet of Lesina (which is about ten kilometers), between the right shore of Fortore river and the lake. Seat of a community of Cistercian monks of Abruzzo who settled there in the thirteenth century, here in 1255 was built an abbey where the monks could work the fields, pray, write manuscripts and produce music. Partially destroyed by the earthquake of 1627, it was recovered by Celestini at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Today of all that complex remains only the Church of Santa Maria.


The Cathedral of the Santissima Annunziata, in Greek Style-Romanesque style, was built between 1828 and 1837 on the ruins of the Church previously destined to the cult of the Annunciation that had not survived to the earthquake of 1627. The current church has an elegant façade composed by columns with Romanesque arches. Also worth a visit the interior of the church where you can admire the marvelous frescoes of the neapolitan master Bocchetti Gaetano of Piedimonte of Alife that narrate the most salient episodes of the life of Jesus.


The former Bishop’s Palace dates back to the ‘200 and, with its facade and its artistic portal, constitutes one of the most interesting examples of building industry of eighteenth-century in Lesina. This is confirmed by the presence of the coat of arms of Orazio Greco, repositioned after the restructuring which took place in 1733 after the earthquake. Here in 663 A.D. took refuge the Bishop of Lucera, fleeing from persecutions of the Byzantine Emperor Costante II.


Pietre Nere, the complex of black rocks of volcanic formation, which date back to the Triassic period. Located in Marina di Lesina, it’s considered a site geologically rare and without doubt the most ancient ever found in Apulia.


Bosco Isola, the wide strip of nature long about 18 km, that separates the lagoon from the sea. Its dune is bounded by the two canals, Acquarotta and Schiapparo, that turn the Lake Lesina into a veritable lagoon. Its flora is typical of the Adriatic coast, with oaks, live oaks, Strawberry Trees, Aleppo pine, rosemary, juniper, but here are born and grow even rare plants such as the “Cisto di Clusio” (“Cistus of Clusio”), present only in the territory of Lesina. Not by chance the entire Bosco Isola is the subject of study by part of many researchers and experts of botany, earning the nickname of “great ecological laboratory”.


The Church of San Primiano Martire, the patron saint of the small town, situated in the center of the ancient village of Lesina, in antiquity belonged to the Confraternita del Santo Rosario (Confraternity of the Holy Rosary).


  • The feast of San Primiano, Patron Saint of Lesina: from 14 to 16 May
  • The feast of San Nazario: 28 July
  • The feast of San Rocco: 16 to 19 August
  • Eel Festival: in December

Other localities


A holiday between the colors, fragrances and flavours of the Gargano  

Located directly on the north coast of the Gargano, Lido del Sole is a fraction of Rodi Garganico, from which it is distant only 6 kilometers, and is one of the favorite destinations for families and groups of young people in holiday on the Gargano.


Characterized by a structure that recalls the shape of an amphitheater, with houses and villas white in Mediterranean style between colored Bougainville and fragrant citrus groves, the locality looks like a big tourist center where you can find everything you need to spend a holiday in Apulia between relax and fun.


With so many hotels, residence, villages and camping, equipped with sports facilities and staff of animation, Lido del Sole offers to the numerous tourists a wide choice of comfort and services. Its long golden beaches, that are distinguished by the fine sand and the shallow water, are ideal to spend a holiday with children.


Just 4 kilometers from the suggestive Varano Lake, the position of Lido del Sole allows you to easily reach all the other wonders of the Gargano National Park.


The beaches of Lido del Sole are characterized by fine and golden sand and have a low seabed, ideal for the families with children.

The center of Lido del Sole in the summer comes alive with locals, restaurants, stores, shops of typical products and handicraft, market stands, live music shows, so becoming ideal destination in order to pass pleasant evenings.

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta, situated in Viale dei Melograni, is the point of religious reference in Lido del Sole, both for the local inhabitants that for the tourists of the seaside resort. The church is dedicated to the protectress of Lido del Sole, Santa Maria Assunta.

The Varano Lake is distant only 6 km from Lido del Sole. Easily accessible either on foot or by bicycle, you will be able to admire charming lacustrine atmospheres and perhaps make an excursion on the Lake on board typical boats of fishermen.


  • Torchlight procession dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 14 August
  • Zangardi Cup Tournament: from 10 to 14 June
  • Motorbike Meeting “Gargano on the road”: from 30 April to 3 May
  • Gargano Tasting in Trail: from 31 May to 7 June
  • School’s International Festival: from 20 to 24 April

Other localities


The door of the Gargano  

For your holiday in Gargano, Manfredonia is an ideal starting point in order to begin your travel to the discovery of the territory. Located at the foot of the Gargano Peninsula, to the center of the wide homonymous Gulf that is opened on the Adriatic Sea, the city is considered the door of Gargano.


If you visit Manfredonia you’ll realize of its important past in which was also one of the main harbours of Italy for relations with the East. Its historic village conserve still today the structure at checkerboard commissioned in 1256 by king Manfred, founder of the city, in order to accommodate the exiles of the destroyed Siponto.


Among its most important monuments, do not miss the imposing Castle, built always by the son of Frederick II to defend the territory from the frequent Saracen invasions. Today the fortress, that overlooks the harbour and from which you can admire a beautiful sunset over the sea, is home to the National Archaeological Museum of Gargano, which houses the famous Daunian steles. It is also worth visiting the magnificent baroque Cathedral, built in 1680, with its distinctive bell tower.


Also worth to seeing its maritime fraction Siponto, today seaside locality at the gates of Manfredonia, but in the past one of the most important cities of Daunia, important harbour in the region of Apulia and seat of a diocese that included all the Gargano Peninsula with its shrines, until a terrible earthquake not destroyed it almost totally in 1223. To witness the ancient greatness of Siponto today remains only its ancient cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.


The Gargano National Museum, located inside the Castle of Manfredonia, was opened to the public in 1980. Here are preserved relics from the Neolithic until the Iron Age, but above all they are exposed 1500 samples of Daunian steles, the large funerary tombstones, worked in the calcareous stone, dating from the period between the VII and VI centuries BC and the most important testimony of the Daunian civilization that lived in the territory of Siponto.


The Salso Lake Oasis is a humid zone of great naturalistic interest, incorporated from 1992 inside of the Gargano National Park. Its waters and its cane thickets provide excellent habitat for a wide variety of aquatic birds and fish. Here it is possible to explore the entire valley, visiting the Salso lake with small boats electrical workers, or it can be made bird watching from the turrets situated along a path that winds for about 5 kilometers.


The Carnival of Manfredonia, known also as Daunian Carnival is one of the more important appointments of the year for the city, recognized from the Apulia region like “manifestation of regional interest”. Between the most ancient carnivalesque manifestations in Italy (its first edition goes back to 1952), every year the event begins with the festivity of Saint Anthony Abbot, 17 January, with the traditional mask of Zi’ Pèppe, symbol of Daunian Carnival, in order then to continue in the last Sunday of Carnival and the Shrove Tuesday. Besides the parades of allegorical wagons, between the most joyful and elaborated of Italy, the holiday is accompanied also by competitions literary, photographic, painting, festivals of public square, folklore shows, dances and tastings of typical dishes.

The Swabian Castle was built in 1256 by the king Manfred, but it was completed by Charles I of Anjou and then, in the 1500’s, widened from the Spanish. Today the Swabian Castle accommodates the National Archaeological Museum, where it is exposed to an interesting collection that traces the entire history of the ancient lagoon of Siponto. To make it even more fascinating this fortress is its location: it is placed right adjacent to the beach in Manfredonia.


The Cathedral of Manfredonia was completed in 1274, then destroyed by the Ottoman Turks, and then rebuilt again in the seventeenth century. Dedicated to San Lorenzo Maiorano, patron of the city, it houses the relics of the saint and some works from other churches in the area as the icon of Madonna of Siponto, the other patron saint of the city. To be seen the frescoes inside the Cathedral of Natale Penati from Milan, made in 1940.


The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore of Siponto was built in Apulian Romanesque style in the IX century on the remains of an early Christian church. To below its quadrate plan you can visit the crypt. It was the cathedral of Siponto. It is about 3 km from Manfredonia and is now one of the oldest buildings of the city.


The Abbey of San Leonardo in Lama Volara, located about 10 km from the center of Manfredonia, was founded in the XII century in Apulian Romanesque style, but with remarkable Byzantine influences that give it that “oriental” aspect. It was the hospital to assist the pilgrims and crusaders traveling along the “Via Sacra Longobardorum” towards Monte Sant’Angelo. The Church anticipates a beautiful peculiarity: the 21 June of every year, the day of the summer solstice, exactly at noon, a ray of sunlight passes through a rose window of stone which is located in the vault of the central nave and it projects on the floor of the church a rose of light, with 11 petals, thus symbolizing the Pentecost, the Spirit that descends on Earth.


The Church of San Domenico, located in Piazza del Popolo, with annexed the convent, was built in late 1200 by the will of Charles II of Anjou. By do not miss the four frescos of the fourteenth century visible in the ancient chapel..


The Church of the Sacred Family is one of the churches more moderns than Manfredonia, kind in 1982. This that it hits of this church are the imposing mosaics realized from the artist Ambrogio Zamparo.


The Cave Scaloria, in the immediate periphery North of Manfredonia, with its beautiful stalactites is a cavity discovered in 1931 where remainders of interments are recovered that they have made to suppose its use like necropolis.


  • Daunian Carnival: February
  • Patronal Festival of San Lorenzo: 7 February
  • Festival of Maria SS. of Siponto: 29 August
  • Marine procession of San Andrea: 1 September



Other localities