The Gargano Promontory, in Puglia, is considered to be “Italy’s spur”. It’s an amazing and secret paradise in the south of Italy, captivating for the photographer’s eye. Leafy vegetation, a crystalline sea, evocative places, a faithful people and the genuine tastes of this zone are its fundamental characteristics.
This promontory, projecting itself out into the Adriatic Sea, is almost entirely covered by a massive and mountainous rock.
In its heart contain nature’s jewels, as the Umbra Forest, the marine reserve of the Tremiti Islands and the coastal lakes of Lesina and Varano.
Numerous touristic localities line the Gargano coast. The “door” to Gargano is Manfredonia, but on the way, stops at the Romanesque Churches who are a must for their historic and architectonic importance. Heading toward Vieste, the spectacularly rocky coast is marked by steep precipices and overhangs, giant white boulders, and tiny beaches accessible only from the sea.
Next is Mattinata (whose name means “morning”) or the “White Butterfly of Gargano”, with enormous sandy beaches. Then, the Bay of Zagare follows, a beloved local sea destination, with its sea-stacks, and Pugnochiuso.
On the eastern side of the “spur” is Vieste, a hopping touristic hub in Gargano: the sea here is, in a word, unforgettable, its waves lapping between two long, white-sand beaches. A rocky promontory dominates above, topped by a borgo, a labyrinth of tortuous stairways and narrow streets and white edifices and arches.
Another view of the Gargano coast is obtained from the Adriatic. Its beaches, bays and coves and caves are explorable by sail boat, motorized rafts and boats. The sights are truly unforgettable.
By boat you can also admire the trabucchi, or ancient installations equipped with long wooden arms to support fishnets. The trabucchi are also very typical for this area, but for a different reason: the same type of instrument was also erected as a means for defense against 16th-Century pirates, and therefore can be found among the ruins of various fortification towers.
Continuing the journey, on the way to Peschici, a little town perched above a craggy rock, a sheer drop to the blue sea below. Peschici’s characteristic urbanization is full of steep, narrow and sharp angle roads that seem to finish inside houses or buildings. However they continue after what resembles a devil’s twist of a road. Moving even further along the coast we arrive at Rodi Garganico with panoramic views stretching to the Tremiti Islands, 140 km (87 mi) of the coast.
Then Ischitella welcomes us, with its lofty view over the Adriatic Sea and the Lake of Varano, before we pass on to the medieval Vico del Gargano. A historical center of Ischitella is a must to visit place! There you will find unique buildings and places, like the “House with a vine”, that grows inside.
Later, we reach the Umbra Forest, the green heart of Gargano, where we recommend a nocturnal excursion. Towards the end of your trip is a brief itinerary tracing some of the zone’s places of faith: Monte Sant’ Angelo, the oldest and most important religious center for Gargano, is where the Via Sacra Langobardorum begins, which unites numerous sanctuaries from Spain to Jerusalem.
If you are a photographer, in this places, your camera will explode!