Discovering the Gargano

Who I am
Martí Micolau

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Varano Lake, Vico del Gargano, Vieste, Peschici, Mattinata are some of the stops we have chosen to discover how much more? possible the Gargano.
11 days, during which we passed from the sea, to the Umbrian forest, to the splendid villages that are characteristic to say the least, all seasoned with the typical flavors of this land. Result: a very pleasant holiday in a part of Italy that we had not visited until now.

1 day

First stop: Varano Lake
IS? the largest Italian coastal lake and the most? large of southern Italy. Improperly called a lake, it is mostly a lagoon fed by different sources of water. We could also speak of the island of Varano, since? it separates from the Adriatic Sea through a thin strip of land.

Unfortunately, the perception of this locality? ? been distorted by the super torrid heat of this summer that did not allow us to fully enjoy the place.

Visited with temperatures more? human beings, certainly represents a pleasant destination for a stopover. If you can also take a boat ride at sunset!

2 day

Second stop: Vico del Gargano.

Here we spent three fantastic days, in a truly delightful village, which we recommend you visit.
In the heart of the Gargano National Park,? one of the most? beautiful d? Italy, land of love, since its patron? Valentine's day. The Saint ? also patron of citrus groves, which once represented the main source of sustenance for the economy. This union, in fact, is celebrated in February, when the town is filled with citrus-based decorations, in addition, of course, to the celebrations for the feast of the Saint.

Its historic center, what? really a delight,? divided into three districts called Terra, Civita and Casale, and still maintains the medieval imprint of the past. Stroll through its narrow streets and you will be enchanted. From the famous Vicolo del Bacio, to the castle; every corner will hit you with its characteristics.

Vico del Gargano? very convenient if used as a base for visiting the surroundings; we did just that.

From there, we reached Peschici, the Umbra Forest and the most? close, choosing from time to time a different beach.

3 day

Based in Vico del Gargano, we immediately begin to discover the beaches in the area.

Calenella beach? the first we choose: easily accessible, without major parking problems,? beautiful long and spacious. A part ? equipped, the remaining? free. The water ? clean but nothing special, like the whole Gargano coast, for? pleasant all the same.

4 day

The next day ? the vault of the trabucchi beach: a small cove, where there is no ?? free beach but only establishments. The place ? very beautiful.

5 day

Taking advantage of the convenience? di Vico del Gargano as a base for visiting the surrounding area, Peschici? it was our choice to spend a different evening.
Here we dined at the La Taverna restaurant where we ate excellent fish; then we continued around the center, very characteristic and really delicious.
The village of Peschici was founded by Slavic soldiers who were sent by Otto I, in the th century, to face the threat of the Saracens. The numerous sighting towers that you will find along the coast are evidence of this period.

6 day

The coast of Peschici, which extends for about 20 km,? also characterized by the famous trebuchets, ancient tools used for fishing. Perched overlooking the sea, they make the view nothing short of fascinating.
In some of them? it is also possible to have dinner or an aperitif. We have chosen the Trabucco da Mim ?. We advise you to book, the place deserves!

7 day

Bad weather day: we decide not to go to the beach but to take the opportunity to take a tour in the famous Umbra Forest, very close to Vico del Gargano and a recommended destination for doing something different.
Considered the green lung of the Gargano, it extends up to 10.000 hectares of surface and reaches up to about 830 m. of altitude. Its name probably derives from the dense vegetation that characterizes it and which does not let much light through, leaving the landscape mostly? in the shade.
Taking a walk, a picnic, or just spending time there, can? be an alternative choice to the usual sea.

8 day

The next day ? already? time to change destination, therefore we move near Vieste, choosing as a base for the three nights that we will spend there? ? Agriturismo Valle Menta, a simple but really welcoming place, where you can feel at home and in the family in a moment!

We visit Vieste during the day, to fully enjoy it.

Undoubtedly one of the cities? symbol of the whole Gargano,? was, in the past, due to its strategic position, marked by the passage of various dominations such as those of the Byzantines, Normans, Lombards and Swabians.

Like Peschici, also the historic center of Vieste? delightful, made up of small alleys and streets that intertwine with each other, rich in history and traditions. Unmissable the many souvenir shops and typical products, as well as? the restaurants. To make it even more? fascinating? its perched position, overlooking the sea.

Symbol of the town? the famous 25 m monolith that stands out on the coast. His name, Pizzomunno, seems to be linked to a legend: it is said, in fact, that Pizzomunno was a young fisherman from Vieste who, faithful to his beloved Cristalda, never succumbed to the temptations of the sirens. These, annoyed, dragged Cristalda to the bottom of the sea and turned Pizzomunno into stone. The legend for? he wants the two lovers to meet every 100 years to relive their passion in one night.
Among the things to see, c ?? obviously the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, as well as? Cathedral of the city? and a pilgrimage destination due to the presence, inside, of a wooden statue depicting the Holy Virgin Mary of Merino, to which it seems that the Viestans are very attached.
Walking through the alleys of the historic center, you will certainly notice the Chianca Amara, a memorial to the invasion of the Turkish pirates in Vieste. It is a rock where 5000 Viestans were beheaded who fought to the end to defend their city.

Another attraction to see? the Castle that rises above Vieste, built by Frederick II of Swabia and later rebuilt by the Spaniards in 1537.

Here too, as along the coast of Peschici, will it happen to you? to spot some trebuchets. Among those pi? ancient, c ?? undoubtedly the trebuchet of San Francesco which, with more? of a century of life,? managed today by the WWF.
Before entering Vieste, take a look at the lighthouse located on the islet of Santa Eufemia, built in 1867 and still in use today.

9 day

As for the nearby beaches, since there was a lot of wind in those days, after having tried several, we chose Baia dei Campi.
To dine in the surroundings of Vieste, one of the evenings at our disposal we tried the Masseria San Salvatore.

10 day

We spend the last few days of vacation near Mattinata. For three nights we sleep at the B&B Dalla Nonna, a perfect location, well maintained, directly on the sea, delightful owners so? like the restaurant of the structure.
Among the beaches more? significant of the area, excluding Baia delle Zagare, inaccessible unless you are staying in one of the super hotels directly on the bay, we point out the Vignanotica Beach, characterized by a beautiful and very white cliff.
We advise you to go early to find a place and why? in the early afternoon the part of the beach close to the cliff becomes in the shade.

11 day

The last night, however, we spend at the Agriturismo Monte Sacro, surrounded by nature. Structure ? always from the same family that runs the B&B Dalla Nonna.
From there, we decide to visit Monte Sant? Angelo: a real delight.
Linked to the cult of the Archangel Gabriel, the locality? and its Sanctuary, built in 493 AD, are a pilgrimage destination for many faithful. Specifically, the Sacred Grotto where the apparitions of the Saint seem to have taken place (490, 492 and 493 AD). This is the pi? ancient sanctuary in the west dedicated to the saint, a must for all pilgrims who set out to reach the Holy Land.
In addition to the Sanctuary, visit the Norman-Swabian Aragonese Castle and the Rione Junno which, built in the th century,? the neighborhood pi? ancient and characteristic of Monte Sant? Angelo. The best way to find out? walking, getting lost in its alleys.
Do not leave the country without having tasted its famous bread, famous as well as for its goodness, for its size: a loaf can? weigh even 6 kg and keep fresh for 8 days.

If you stay there? for dinner or lunch, we recommend the Medioevo restaurant, very good!

At this point our journey? finished? bye!

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