We travel to follow our passions: the sea, good food, nature, history. In the Gargano there is all this … and even more!
The sea is the first reason that comes to mind when you think of a good reason to visit the Gargano. True, but simplistic. The Gargano, as I was able to discover thanks to Zangardi Tours that hosted me last month for 4 days together with a group of international travel bloggers, is a land full of beautiful and unexpected landscapes even inland, of a strong nature and enveloping, of villages full of history.
Whatever your passion, here are 4 good reasons to go to the Gargano.
1. Passion for the Sea
Let’s start with the obvious: the Gargano coast is a beauty with which few others can compete. Sandy beaches, rocks, coves: there is something for everyone. A boat trip from Vieste to explore the Marine Caves is worth the trip alone and, for those going in the summer, it will allow some diving or snorkeling. The Caves – in all 26 – are real natural masterpieces of limestone rock, with the boat you can enter inside some of them and enjoy a magical view from the darkness of the interior towards the bright reflections of the sea at the external. The fishermen gave each cave a name that recalls its shape or its colors: the Sfondata, the Bell, the Smugglers, the Bats, the Pigeons, two Eyes, the Viola, the Sirens, the Dreams, the Pharaoh, the Palette , dei Marmi, the Serpente and the Smeralda cave. Also from Vieste, or from Peschici or Rodi Garganico, it is possible to make daily excursions to the Tremiti Islands, which are about an hour’s drive away.
2. Passion for Nature
The territory of the Gargano is incredibly varied, from what you expect – the coast, the sandy beaches, the crystal clear sea – along a handful of kilometers you find yourself immersed in what you do not expect: oaks, millenarian beech forests, a thick and shady forest . Just the shadow gives it its name, Foresta Umbra. The show begins before arriving at the Forest, which is in the heart of the Gargano National Park, along the road, with the landscape changing and becoming increasingly wild at each bend. The olive groves give way to the woods. The Umbra Forest stretches over 10,000 hectares and offers hiking trails, biking trails and many picnic areas.
Another natural spectacle is the Varano Lake, the largest Italian coastal lake. On the lake we fish and mussels are bred (during our blog tour we ate them prepared by the talented and very young chef of Arianna Club). For those who love photography like me a boat ride on the lake is a must, the views are really enchanting.
3. Passion for Food and Wine
The earth is round, a triangle is formed by 3 sides and the Apulian enogastronomy is exceptional. It is an irrefutable truth, there is no de gustibus that holds. The territory of the Gargano, in particular, boasts 4 Slow Food Presidia, the Fave of Carpino, the Citrus Gargano, the Eel of Lesina and the Caciocavallo Podolico, PDO products such as the Buffalo Mozzarella and the extra virgin olive oil Dauno Gargano, IGP as the Lemon Fimminiello of Gargano, Orange Blonde of Gargano and Orange Duretta of Gargano. Other typical products and preparations are the Cacioricotta di capra garganica, the Calzone di Ischitella (called Cav’cion: focaccia with onions, anchovies and raisins that is usually prepared for Easter), the lampascioni in oil or in vinegar, the Limoncello , olives in brine, crushed olives, orecchiette, stuffed ostie, bread of Monte Sant’Angelo, paprika of Vico del Gargano, pettole (pancakes), clams of Lake Varano. To discover these treasures of the local gastronomic culture Zangardi Tours offers the Gargano Tasting Trail, a journey to discover the flavors and culinary traditions of the Gargano.
4. Passion for the Villages and History
Vieste, Peschici, Rodi Garganico, Vico del Gargano, Monte Sant’Angelo … the Gargano is full of picturesque villages full of history. Peschici is located overlooking the sea and is dominated by a Norman castle of the eleventh century. Not to be missed in Vico del Gargano are the Vico del Bacio, the ethnographic museum housed in the Trappeto Maratea (an ancient oil mill dating back to the 11th century) and a wine tasting in the archeological cellar of Nello Biscotti, a histrionic figure known to everyone in the village for the his candid talk. Monte Sant’Angelo is a love at first sight: its alleys are full of charm and atmosphere and the Cave of San Michele Arcangelo has been counted among the most beautiful in the world – the sanctuary is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In a few days at the Gargano I have lived many different journeys, many different suggestions … and there are still many things to be lived. An example: the Gargano on two wheels, it’s another perspective!
by Marzia Keller