Discovering Manfredonia with Giuliana | #PugliaByMe
As stated in a famous local song of Carnival..
If you want to have fun, you have to come in Manfredonia!
What to know and see
The charming town of Manfredonia is located in the Foggia Province and was founded in 1256 by king Manfredi of Svevia, who planned to turn it into “one of the most beautiful cities in the world” and make it an important centre of government in all his kingdom. During the prosperous years of the blond, handsome and gentle king it began the construction of the castle of the city, which was, however, completed by Charles I of Anjou.
When the control of the kingdom passed to the Aragonese family, during the 15th century, they built additional towers of the castles. The Manfredonia’s castle has perfectly survived the centuries and is open to visitors by paying a very small entrance fee, almost symbolic. Inside the castel, there is a very interesting museum, especially for the exhibition of the stele daune, rectangular decorated slabs of limestone that were used the VII-VI century BC, for funeral and memorial purposes.
There are also underwater archaeological finds, such as reconstructed amphorae and vessels and architectural material from the old capitals of Siponto such as cornices and shelves.
Walking through Manfredonia, you can find other places of cultural interest: the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore of Siponto, the Abbey of St Leonard, the Celestini Palace and many other buildings used for religious and civilians purposes, which are mainly concentrated in the historic centre.
In addition, last year was inaugurated one of the most promising sources of tourism for the city, the tourist port Marina del Gargano , which contains more than 700 berths and is an excellent docking point for the entire Adriatic coast. It is one of the preferred spot of the locals and the best place to enjoy nice walks, breathe the scent of the sea and watch the sunset.
The nightlife, especially during the summer, takes place in Siponto. Formerly called Sipontuum, it is an important historical centre at about 2 miles south of Manfredonia. Originally a Daunia’s colony, the city passed under the control of the Greeks, becoming one of the most important centre of the Magna Greece. When the Romans took the control of this area, Siponto was included in their Empire to finally become a Norman colony.
Today Siponto is the main hub of the summer life of Manfredonia and most of the cities located in the Foggia Province. The coast has dozens of beaches with all the amenities: restaurants, entertainment for children and activities for adults. In the evening lots of bars and nighclubs open along the sea promenade, where all the locals gather to enjoy some music , drinks and various entertainment.
Things to Do
Manfredonia has a great potential to become one of the major tourist destinations of the Gargano and the regional tourist office is working towards this direction, to promote and support the city amongst international travelers.
In addition to its cultural background, Manfredonia has a beautiful sea and during summer time offers unforgettable evenings in Siponto and various attractions within the city, such as cinemas and a theater dedicated to one of the big representatives of the Italian music, Lucio Dalla, who few years ago in an interview said to feel really close to this city.
To testify the great passion of this singer for Manfredonia, a photo of the city was used in one of his most famous album covers, “4th March 1943”. Other places to spend a nice evening are the pizzerias, cafés and lounge bars all around the city.
Being pretty small, it’s quite easy to move around Manfredonia either by car or by foot. However, in occasion of local celebrations, it is strongly recommended to walk and leave the car at home, as so to avoid getting stuck in the traffic of the city.
Manfredonia is situated in an strategic position within the Gargano: in only 30 minutes by car you can get to San Giovanni Rotondo and Monte Sant’Angelo and with a very short ride you can also reach the fantastic seaside area of Mattinata and Vieste.
Not to be missed
Manfredonia is pretty famous for its Carnival celebrations, indeed, this year in 2014, we have just hosted the 61st edition of the Carnival Dauno (and believe me, you don’t reach 61 editions so easily!).
This is a fantastic event that every year sees dozens of masquerade groups, colorful parades, musical performances “zumb ammizz a stred” (that in local dialect means jumping in the street), national and international bloggers! The joy and enthusiasm of the people have made the carnival a real institution and a worthy reason to be proud of our city!
Another event that attracts many tourists in Manfredonia is the so-called “Festamadonn“, dedicated to the Patron Saint Maria SS. of Siponto. This is an old tradition that falls in late August with a series of civil and religious events that end in a procession along the streets of the city on the 31st August. During these days of celebration anyone, even the “sand tarlet” (in local dialect, people that never go out) leaves their places to enjoy the event. Beautiful lights decorate the city, while musical performances and fireworks entertain the audience. And finally don’t forget to stop by the delicious stands located in the centre of the city and enjoy some typical gastronomic products!
Specialties you should definitely try
Talking about Carnival, if you’re going to visit Manfredonia at this time, don’t forget to try the farrate, a delicious rustico typical of this celebration! If you want to know how it’s made and perhaps try to bake it yourself, check out the original recipe offered by Vittorio, also from Manfredonia.
In terms of gastronomy, if you are in Manfredonia you cannot miss one of our favorite places, the ice cream shop “Tommasino”, where you would enjoy the best gelato ever! In the city you can also find trattorie and restaurant run by local families where you can enjoy our seafood specialties, in particular the “fresh ciambotta“, our typical fish soup. I’d would recommend you to try the restaurant “Coppolarossa”, located in the historic centre of town and very easy to reach.
So, any doubt yet on why you should come and visit our wonderful city?
Come on! The door is open!
Article and Photos by Giuliana Scaramuzzi