Gargano, the spur of the Italian boot
Gargano, also known as the spur of the Italian boot, is a promontory (it’s actually called the Gargano Promontory) that extends into the eastern part of Puglia and is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. It is part of the province of Foggia and is almost entirely occupied by the Gargano National Park which was established in 1991.
From a geological point of view the Gargano is a peninsula and is mostly mountainous (its the highest mountain in the region with a peak of over one thousands meters), it was once an island, and is still separated from the mainland by a vast flat tablelands called Tavoliere delle Puglie. It has more in common with the territory across the sea than with the rest of Italy.
Gargano is a coastal area of extreme beauty on the Adriatic Sea, it is famous for its stunning beaches, cliffs, forest and for its rough unspoiled appeal.
The remoteness of the Gargano area from the rest of the region makes it a unique land which still preserves an unspoiled nature and represents one of the best examples of biodiversity in Italy.
Its territory is mainly covered with the deep wood of the Umbra Forest in the National Park and the typical Mediterranean vegetation with olive and citrus groves.
Its 140 km long coastline are characterized by the presence of sandy beaches, ancient forest (mainly pine woods), bays, limestone cliffs, dunes, calcareous caves, and the faraglioni, white rocks emerging from the sea in the Mergoli Bay and the Zagare Bay (Baia delle Zagare). Famous and numerous are also the trabucchi, ancient wood-made structures built by fishermen from where they cast their nets.
With its sparkling sea and cobalt blue water Gargano is the ideal destination for divers and water sports lovers. North of it is the wonderful archipelago of the Tremiti Islands. Two inland coastal basins are also located on the Northern coast of Gargano, Lesina and Varano. The lake Lesina is parallel to the coast, its waters are salty because it is directly connected to the sea. Lake Varano is separated from the sea by a sand strip, called the island, its waters are sweet thanks to the presence of underground springs.
But the Gargano is not just a land of sea, beaches and nature, it is also a land of faith, history and traditions. Beautiful whitewashed villages located along the coast as Vieste, Peschici, Mattinata, Rodi Garganico and the pilgrimage village of Monte Sant’Angelo have well preserved their architectural beauty over the centuries. It’s a land of faith with its roads that have been used for centuries by pilgrims coming to this land along the route from Santiago de Compostela, which led to the Holy Sepulcher and the Holy Land, passing through Rome and that today lead to the second most visited Catholic Shrine in the world located San Giovanni Rotondo and dedicated to St. Padre Pio.
Gargano is still an intact, unspoiled land and is definitely a must-see land in Puglia. The perfect land for any type of holidays, where you can enjoy the sea and beaches, or be engaged in fascinating journeys through history and ancient traditions or simply relax amid the unspoiled vegetation.
Best places to visit in Gargano
The Gargano is a mountainous promontory that extends into the northern part of Puglia – entirely surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. This is the greenest area in the whole region, also famous for the citrus groves. Due to its special climate and micro-environment, this is in fact the only area along the Adriatic Sea perfect for the citrus plantation, especially oranges and lemons.
Gargano National Park
The Gargano National Park is a protected nature reserve which was established in 1991, it is entirely located in the Gargano Promontory, the spur of Italy. It covers an area of 300000 acres and includes the Foresta Umbra (Umbra Forest) and the archipelago of Tremiti Islands.
Of particular interest is the morphology of this area. The Gargano was originally an island separated from the mainland. Later it merged to the mainland to form the unmistakable “spur” but the origin of this area as an island has marked the evolution of its environment in terms of fauna and flora. More
Monte Sant’Angelo is a small town in the province of Foggia and it is part of the Gargano National Park. It is located in the hills on the Gargano promontory, the spur of Italy, from where it overlooks the splendid gulf of Manfredonia. Monte Sant’Angelo has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2011. This city is best known in Italy and in the world for the famous Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo , destination of many pilgrims. More
Vieste is a town in the province of Foggia, it is part of the Gargano National Park and it has been, more than once, awarded the Blue Flag by the Foundation for Environmental Education for the quality of its coastline and bathing water. It is located on a small rocky peninsula and has a characteristic shape with three large bays divided by two points:
San Francesco Point: facing East it is the higher and mostly rocky point. The medieval town is located in this area; it is full of narrow streets, stairways and arches, which surround the most prestigious and historical buildings (St. Francis Church and the Cathedral). Santa Croce Point: facing North it is lower. More
Tremiti Islands is an archipelago composed of five small islands and is located just 20 km from the Northern coast of Gargano. The five islands are: St. Nicholas (San Nicola), St. Domino, Capraia, Cretaccio and the farthest out, Pianosa; from an administrative point of view they belong to the Foggia Province and are also part of the Gargano National Park. More
Peschici is a small village in the province of Foggia, its territory is part of the Gargano National Park. It is a popular seaside resort with a marina and is one of the finest tourist destinations in Puglia. It has, very often, been awarded with the blue flag, by Foundation for Environmental Education, for the beauty of its coasts. The village is perched on a rocky promontory above the sea and the ancient area still retains original features of the medieval village. More