Excursions

Discovering a special territory

The historic town of Peschici seems to grow out of the rocks overlooking the sea. The sparkling-white domed houses coexist with rustic dwellings. Near the town is the Church of Santa Maria di Calena, founded by the Benedictines in the 11th century.

 

Vieste is undoubtedly one of the oldest towns in the Daunia. It is located in the heart of a marvellous coastal area extending more than 30 km in a fantastic succession of some of the most evocative views in all the Mediterranean. The town's historic centre, with its narrow streets and stairways between white houses, is even more picturesque.

The Tremiti Islands are a fabulous concentration of natural beauties including crags and precipices, bays, rocks and stacks, pine groves and Mediterranean vegetation.

 

They were treasured by Diomedes, the Greek hero who landed here and stayed until he died; legend has it that his companions, whom Venus turned into seabirds called diomedeas, let out a plaintive call on moonlit nights that sounds like a child crying. The Benedictine Abbey and the church of Santa Maria a Mare are not to be missed.

 

This is a place for snorkelling and scuba diving, widely recognised as an intact marine reserve.

The environment reigns supreme here, with dunes and forests of conifers and hardwoods, rivers of sparkling water and karst grottoes. Gargano National Park is home to more species of birds than the entire Alps, while its 2,000 species of plants account for 35% of those in all of Italy.

 

The wealth of tree species is matched by the number of plants. Recent studies have demonstrated that the Gargano has the greatest number of orchids in Italy; some 250 varieties have been recorded, accounting for 60% of the species present in Europe. The brackish lakes of Lesina and Varano are also of great natural interest.

Tourists come from all over the world to San Giovanni Rotondo, to the tomb of Padre Pio and Monte Sant'Angelo, to the Shrine of San Michele, consecrated to the Archangel in 493. Historians believe the temple rose in the second half of the 6th century on an old Basilian abbey.

 

Another charming area is the picturesque Junno district with its terraced houses. San Marco in Lamis is also worth a visit: set in a valley surrounded by mountains, its history is interconnected with that of another venerated site: the shrine of San Matteo.