The excursions to the Tremiti islands, to the Gargano’s grottos, the jeep safari in the Gargano have to be directly booked by the village.
JEEP SAFARI IN THE GARGANO tour with off-road vehicles in the most impervious places of the Gargano National Park and Umbra Forest.
A dream for those who want to try the direct contact with the uncontaminated nature.
The Gargano, enchanted place of wild nature, since ever destination of a high quality tourism, offering a land full of natural, historical and cultural resources conferring prestige and pride to the province of Foggia.
During the centuries the Gargano has been object of researches by many Italian and foreign naturalists and researchers. A very important research dates back to the 1965 on the conservation of the coastal landscape. The result was that this land was included in the Protected Areas constituting the Gargano National Park.
The Gargano is Italy’s greatest promontory, overlooking on the Adriatic sea for few kilometres constituting an encyclopedia of nature, indeed it offers a great variety of landscapes from the hill to the lake, the sea and the forest. There are in fact many rounded up picks, ranging from 600m to 1000m of altitude, the first one among them is Montecalvo, with its naked and rocky slopes, followed by the lower picks of Mount Spigno and Mount Nero.
In only 2000sq km of territory there is a concentration of many ecosystems full of an incredible quantity of species of animals and vegetables.
The landscape passes as if by magic from the high and indented coastline to low and sandy shores, where there are Pinus halepensis climbed on the cliffs overlooking the clear sea with light blue nuances.
Karstification phenomena have smoothed the rocks, creating marine and terrestrial grottos where you can admire the 4000 dolines and the about 600 grottos. Grottos and dolines are spread around the whole territory, one of the biggest in Europe is the doline Pozzatina 105m deep with a perimeter of about 1850m.
In the Gargano it is possible to admire woods and forests, constituted by huge and many centuries old trees, as the Umbra Forest, the biggest broad-leaved forest in Italy.
The villages with their medieval mark are very fascinating, the white narrow streets and the elegant buildings, together with the fortified farms and the rural houses.
The rest of the ancient civilizations are represented by archaeological excavations which have discovered graves, vases, tools and graffiti.
The Lakes of Lesina and Varano of coastal origin with their ecosystem constitute a very important habitat for the migratory fauna.
The Lake of Lesina with salty water is famous for the abundance of eels.
To complete the picture of the landscape there are also the downhill terraced cultivated lands .
The urban settlements along the south perimeter are: Rignano Garganico, San Marco in Lamis, San Giovanni Rotondo, Mount Sant’angelo, and near the sea Mattinata and Manfredonia; along the northern perimeter there are Poggio Imperiale, Lesina, Apricena, Sannicandro Garganico, Cagnano Varano, Carpino, Ischitella, Vico del Gargano and near the sea Rodi Garganico, Peschici and Vieste.
The Gargano’s variety of ecosystems, its position on the most important migratory routes and the presence of marsh environments, ideal for the wintering and reproduction of the aquatic fauna allowed the Protected area of the Gargano National Park to obtain the Italian record of biodiversity and above all to become a privileged territory for bird watching: the scientific observation of the animals in their natural habitat.
The coastline that goes from the lagoon of Lesina and Varano through the Gargano massif, going down to the salt marshes of Margherita di Savoia is a natural alternation of beauties: sandy coasts, harsh cliffs with grottos and inlets surrounded by a clear sea, reflecting the Mediterranean scrub green colour. In this landscape there are traces of human activity: from the archaeological sites to the look-out towers, built in the XVI century to protect themselves from the Turkish attacks, ending with the “trabucco”, a traditional fishing method.
An ideal itinerary on the coast, starting from Mattinata, has to take into consideration the bay of Vignanotica, Fields bay, bay S.Felice, bay of Portogreco, bay of the Zagare and of Pugnochiuso, famous tourist destinations.
Near the northern edge of the Gargano there is Torre di San Felice, looking towards the so called Architiello, an arch of rock open towards the sea; here there are beautiful marine grottos to be visited and this is possible thanks to excursions on powerful motorboats, from where it is possible to enjoy a wonderful natural scenario, as the grotto of the smugglers, the hot grotto, the grotto without bottom, the Pharaoh’s grotto, the emerald grotto, the bell grotto, the violets grotto, etc. Near Peschici it is worth to visit the bay of Sfinale and of Sfinalicchio where there are documented villages of the Bronze Age and of the Palaeolithic. It is suggestive the bay of San Nicola, within two “trabucco”, while in the big grotto near the bay of Manaccora there are traces of a human settlement that from the Bronze Age reaches the VI century BC. On the way to Rodi Garganico there is the Tower of Mount Pucci, where there have been found rests of an early Christian necropolis.
The itinerary ends at the outlet of Capoiale which puts in communication the Lake of Varano with the Adriatic sea.
San Menaio, hamlet of Vico del Gargano, it is built near a pinewood, it is a typical seaside resort between the sea and the Umbra Forest.
Thanks to the citrus and the olive groves surrounding this city and the centuries old pinewoods leaning to the beaches the climate is fresh in summer and mild in winter.
It is the most ancient place of the Gargano.
LAKE OF LESINA
The lakes are the first landscape that the tourists coming from north meet. The first to be met is the Lake of Lesina.
It is not a deep lake and a 1km wide coast road (called island) separates it from the sea, this road was formed thanks to the deposited material brought by the marine currents.
This strip of land is full of dunes and Mediterranean vegetation which has partially left the space to touristic resorts such as the tourist hamlet of Marina di Lesina, well equipped to accommodate those ones who want to spend a holiday between sea and lake.
LAKE OF VARANO
Also this lake has coastal origin and it has the same origins of the Lake of Lesina. It has a trapezoidal shape and is deeper (5m) with a surface of 60km and is the seventh lake in Italy.
This lake too is separated from the sea by a narrow sandy island, covered by a vegetation of eucalyptus and pine trees. By walking on the lake banks it is possible to see the evidences of the prehistoric man’s presence.
In the village of Bagno there are still finds of an ancient rupestrian village of fishermen.
The sunset on the Lake of Varano is always a stunning show, full of reflections with many nuances, while the church of the miraculous Crucifix of Varano seems to come out from the waters.
The Lake of Varano represents together with the lake of Lesina an important wintering area for many water birds. The species with the biggest population is the coot (Fuica atra).
Ischitella is a characteristic centre of medieval origin, with narrow streets and steep staircases. It is built at 330m, widely overlooking on the sea and particularly on the isthmus of Varano.
The square is dominated by the ancient palace of the barons Pinto, here there is the bust of the great historian and jurist Pietro Giannone.
Furthermore the village keeps with great care a petrified pine tree with the roots going upwards in front of the church of San Francesco and according to the legend it was a stick that the Saint drove into the soil and germinated.
Cagnano Varano is an agricultural and fishing centre dominating the lake and an extensive countryside. The village has a typical structure divided in two parts; the eighteenth century and modern village is extended on a flat land, while the steep side is constituted by the houses of the medieval period.
The only monument of the city is the Baronial palace.
At 4km from the village in a natural grotto there is the sanctuary of San Michele, where, according to the tradition, it appeared the Archangel. The procession day is the 8th May.
Surrounded by the mountains, it stands between two small hills. It has an almost round shape and extends up to the sea, in a flat land of olive groves. It has one of the most beautiful beaches of the Gargano, standing between two ridges. It is a destination for many tourists who want to spend a holiday enjoying the sea, the nature and the country life.
It lives on an economy based on agriculture, on the fishing and tourism which is in constant development. The coastline has a rare beauty and shows very beautiful bays as the bay of the Arance (Oranges), of the Ulivi (Olive groves) and the bay of the Zagare, reflecting in a clear and blue sea. Furthermore, the coast is studded by beautiful grottos that can be visited with powerful motorboats, such as the Red Grotto, the Snake Grotto, the Bats Grotto and the Greater Arch. Important archaeological finds have been found recently on the Mount Saraceno, the excavations have brought to the light a necropolis with more than 400 graves, dating back to the VII, VI and V century BC.
To be visited also the finds of the Benedictine abbey of the Holy Trinity of the Sacred Mount.
Coastal village of the promontory easy to be accessed by sea and land, it is well connected with the Tavoliere. It is in the middle of a wild gulf having the same name, with views including the long sandy beaches to the cliffs, interrupted by the sandy inlets.
It was founded by the Swabian king Manfredi in 1256 for giving hospitality to the inhabitants of the ancient Sipontum.
In the last years there has been a demographic boom, thanks to the industrial development and to the growth of the tourism with good accommodation facilities and seaside resorts. Near Manfredonia there is Siponto, a seaside resort surrounded by the green. Already known in the Roman period. Siponto was an important religious place, under the Byzantine and Norman domination.
Not far from Manfredonia there is the Scaloria Grotto where people were living already in the Palaeolithic period.
On the way to Foggia there is the church of S. Leonardo di Siponto, with a impressive portal. The Castle built by the Swabians today offers hospitality to the National Archaeological Museum of the Gargano.
There are shown here the Stele Daune in calcareous stone, found in the Plain of Siponto. Evidences of the religious vicissitudes are the Cathedral and the church of S. Domenico.
A necropolis has been discovered on the Mount Saraceno, while remarkable archaeological finds of ceramics have been found in the Neolithic village of the Mount Aquilone and in the village of Coppa Nevigata. Between Manfredonia and Zapponeta, on the seabed of an ancient sunken city, where amphoras and other ancient objects are often found.
SOME ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES TO BE VISITED
The Gargano is a container of very ancient stories starting from the Palaeolithic to the Middle Age and then up to more recent periods.
Paglicci Grotto – Rignano Garganico
Among the most ancient places, it has kept for thousand years the most ancient rupestral paintings found in Italy. The red shapes of two horses shows also some hands prints.
The two graves found belong to a young woman and a baby, their funeral vests allowed important studies on the cult of dead people, which was carried out by the people from Cromagnano.
Manaccora – Peschici
It is divided into different spaces and the inner one was used as graveyard. Lithic finds, loom weights and other utensils show the dedication to the spinning and weaving activity.
Molinella – Vieste
Insediamento tra i più antichi e significativi del Gargano. Sono stati trovati reperti litici micenei testimonianza di una intensa attività di commercio e scambio attraverso le rotte marittime attive già nel secolo XV a.C.
This is a settlement among the most ancient and important in the Gargano. Lithic and Mycenaean finds have been discovered here, witnesses of an intense trade and exchange activity, through the marine routes of the XV century BC.
Mount Saraceno – Mattinata
The excavation of the moat of the group of protohistoric houses has given back an abundant production of vases, in addition to the handmade objects in stone, bone, horn and bronze, which allow to date the site around the XI and IV century BC.
This place became the main centre for the cult of Michael, after the famous apparitions of the angel, following which in the VI century it was built a picturesque sanctuary. The cult was carried out by the Lombard knights, who appointed it as national sanctuary becoming a compulsory stop of the Sacred Langobardorum route, for those ones that from Mont Saint Michael reached Jerusalem. The ancient centre is developed around the sanctuary with the medieval district Junno, the castle and the so called Tomb of the Rotarians.
Monastery of Saint Matteo – Saint Marco in LamisAn other compulsory stop, for those coming from North was the Monastery of Saint Matteo apostle, located near Saint Marco in Lamis. It was a shelter for the pilgrims, who often spent the night here, hosted by the Benedictine monks. The sanctuary was built due to the need to give a shelter to the pilgrims, who from the end of the V century started coming to the Gargano, directed to the Mount Sant’Angelo.