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Overview

The heel of Italy’s boot is the Gargano peninsula, remote and isolated from the rest of Italy until the mid-20th century and still a world of its own. The land rises from the clear and deep blue waters of the Adriatic to white sand beaches or jagged white limestone cliffs cut by caves. Above the cliffs begin the oak and beech forests of the Foresta Umbra and Gargano National Park, Italy’s largest. Offshore and also part of the park are the rock-bound Tremiti Islands and their Natural Marine Reserve. The towns of Peschici, Vieste and Rodi di Gargano hug the rocky shore in tight clusters of white stone buildings, some dating to the Middle ...

The heel of Italy’s boot is the Gargano peninsula, remote and isolated from the rest of Italy until the mid-20th century and still a world of its own. The land rises from the clear and deep blue waters of the Adriatic to white sand beaches or jagged white limestone cliffs cut by caves. Above the cliffs begin the oak and beech forests of the Foresta Umbra and Gargano National Park, Italy’s largest. Offshore and also part of the park are the rock-bound Tremiti Islands and their Natural Marine Reserve. The towns of Peschici, Vieste and Rodi di Gargano hug the rocky shore in tight clusters of white stone buildings, some dating to the Middle Ages. Surrounding Vieste are 18 miles of beaches, popular with sailors and windsurfers. Paleolithic and Iron Age sites are abundant around Vico, and there are Roman and Greek ruins as well. A major Medieval Pilgrimage route passed through Monte Sant’Angelo, where one of the great Romanesque-Gothic churches and an octagonal 13th-century bell tower stand above the Sanctuary of St. Michael. More recently, the region has become the goal of pilgrimages to the Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, where the modern Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church was built in 2004, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.

Stillman Rogers
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Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Peninsula in the Puglia region, southeastern Italy, on the Adriatic.
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring and early fall are sunny and warm, although summer is kept moderate by the breezes from the sea. Several days surrounding September 23 are filled with Padre Pio pilgrimages and observances.