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.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE GARGANO?
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.