The Gargano Promontory, in the northeast of southern Italy's Puglia region, is sometimes called the spur of the boot. The Garrgano offers a diverse environment with a variety of interesting places to visit and one could easily spend a week or more seeing its attractions. The coast line offers good beaches and inland you'll find medieval towns and a national park.
In addition to the clean, sandy beaches along the promontory's north coast from Rodi Garganico to Vieste, here's where to go in Gargano:
- Monte Sant' Angelo is the highest point on the promontory (840 meters above sea level). The town has a charming and picturesque historic center (one of the best in Puglia), a castle, the Tancredi Museum of Traditional Life, 13th century frescoes in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the interesting and popular pilgrimage Sanctuary of the Archangel Michael where you can visit the grotto and two museums. Eat traditional food (including what Arthur Miller ate in 1948) at the popular la Caravella Ristorante on Via Reale Basilica near the sanctuary. Arthur Miller ate at the owner's former restaurant and described his meal in his story, Monte Sant' Angelo.
- Vico Garganico has an interesting medieval center with many small alleyways and remains of its castle. Stop in at Bar Pasticiera Pizzicato, on the edge of the historic center, for a coffee and pastry or apertivo. Pino, the evening manager, speaks English. Pizzicato also has vacation apartments, making this town a great base. In the historic center eat at il Trappeto Cantina, where you can try typical dishes in an old olive oil mill.
- Rodi Garganico has a well-kept medieval quarter, a modern harbor where you can take a hydrofoil to the Tremeti Islands in summer, and beach resorts. It's known for its lemon and orange groves.
- Peschici has a small historic center and nice views of the sea. In the center is an interesting recreation of a one-room house (where 11 people and their donkey lived), typical of the town through the early 20th century. It houses the presepe (an elaborate nativity) so look for the sign to the presepe. Enjoy fresh fish straight from the sea at the Trabucco di Monte Pucci, a little ways from Peschici.
- Vieste, on the tip of the peninsula, the holiday capital of the Gargano, has many seaside resorts and an interesting historic centers with lots of staircases.
- Padre Pio Sanctuary in San Giovanni Rotondo is a very popular pilgrimage site. There is a museum dedicated to Padre Pio and visitors can see his tomb. The new Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church was designed by Renzo Piano to accommodate the large number of pilgrims. Padre Pio Visiting Information
- Foresta Umbra, a national park, is the forested center of the peninsula. There are many hiking trails and a small visitor center. In summer it's a great place to escape the heat. Stay or eat at Rifugio Sfilzi where you can try local products including homemade pasta (reservations required).
- Jeep Tour with Indiana Gianni offers an unforgettable trip into the forest by jeep to see places not usually seen by tourists. Although Gianni doesn't speak English, he makes the trip enjoyable and lively. Information and video, email: email@example.com
Continue to Gargano Travel Guide for essential information about visiting Gargano, including where to stay and how to get there.