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. In this area, mostly flat, the new town has extended. It’s also in this area where Vieste’s port is located, still important for fisheries activities and sea transport to Tremiti Islands and Croatia.
The origins of Vieste date back to the 10th century BC. The city has been invaded several times over the past and it has been ruled by different populations such as the Byzantines, Lombards, Romans and Greeks.
It was during the Norman and Swabian reigns that the city had its peak in the urban development. Evidence of achievements and glories of the past is the Cathedral in Romanesque style and the Castle, a massive building which was built by the Swabians and which dominates the city skyline with its stately figure.
South of San Francesco Point is the beach known as the Castle, where a 25m high monolith called Pizzomunno is located. It is also the symbol of the town. As the story goes, in the days when Vieste was still a fishing village a boy named Pizzomunno and his beloved named Cristalda lived in the village. The young couple loved each other and nothing could break their love.
The man faced the sea every day with his boat and the mermaids used to emerge from the sea and sang in honor of the fisherman. They had also offered immortality but he had always refused it because he loved his beloved. One night, while the two lovers were on the beach, the mermaids attacked Cristalda and dragged her into the sea. Pizzomunno followed her in vain.
The young man was found the next day by other fishermen, he was petrified by the pain in the white rock that still bears his name. According to legend, every hundred years Cristalda comes back from the depths of the sea to reach her young lover for one night and relive their old love.
Definitely one of the main tourist destinations in Puglia, Vieste is surrounded by several tourist attractions of natural and historical interest, among the others we remind: Tremiti Islands archipelago: located just off the North coast this archipelago is easily accessible from Vieste. Foresta Umbra: one of the most important natural resources for Southern Italy it is part of the Gargano National Park. The early Christian necropolis La Salata, located East the town, is one of the oldest and most characteristic of the Mediterranean basin.
Several caves are also located along its coast, they are the result of karst phenomena, but also the corrosive action of sea water and wind and are characterized by various and bizarre shapes. Daily tours with local fishermen are available to explore them. Among the others: the two Eyes (due occhi), the Round cave (grotta rotonda), the Bat (dei pipistrelli), Snake (del serpente), Viola, the Emerald (Smeralda)and the Architiello.