The Gargano, the Spur of Italy, is one of the most beautiful promontories to be discovered by motorbike. Itinerary from Manfredonia to Vieste.
The territory is made up of rocks formed in the marine environment and subsequently emerged because they were involved in plate tectonics: you will find wooded areas with lush pine forests, mountainous landscapes, forests, a spectacular coast of white limestone cliffs, sea caves, long sandy beaches and sheer villages. on the sea.
The roads that cross the Gargano, not always perfect as a mantle, nevertheless offer driving and experience emotions. Go slow and enjoy every breath in this magical land.
The Gargano is the most varied mountain imaginable - UNGARETTI
I villages of the Gargano retain for many stretches the ancient medieval characteristics, of the agricultural villages in the innermost areas and of the seaside villages along the coast. Here's what to see, do and enjoy in this magnificent land.
Manfredonia worth a visit to admire the Swabian-Angevin castle wanted by Manfredi, founder of the city. Today the castle dominates the seafront of Manfredonia and from the ramparts you can enjoy a unique view of the sea. Don't miss the Basilica of Santa Maria di Siponto, a splendid example of Apulian Romanesque.
For those who want Mediterranean curves and scents, we recommend taking the SP55 promenade towards Monte Sant'Angelo, famous for its sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo (UNESCO World Heritage Site), a pilgrimage destination for the Christian faithful since the XNUMXth century.
To climb even higher, up to the highest peak of the Eastern Gargano, the sacred mountain, you have to take the SP52b and then the road that takes you back to the sea, in Mattinata. To reach the summit, at 874 meters above sea level, take a dirt track that follows the slopes in environments intended for grazing. The Abbey of Monte Sacro was the seat of the Benedictine monastery from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century AD and was one of the most important cultural centers of the Apulia of the Middle Ages. Today important remains are still admired.
Crossing the carbonara valley, where the piles of wood used by the charcoal burners were once accumulated, you get to Morning. Here, on Monte Saraceno, a peaceful population settled, dedicated to agriculture, hunting and fishing, the Dauni. People very different from the Italic peoples of the nearby Apennines also for the way of honoring and burying the dead. In this necropolis have been identified well 500 tombs. The body of the deceased was buried curled up, as if inside a mother's womb.
After visiting the necropolis, we continue along the provincial SP53, then SP54 which runs along the famous blue sea of the Gargano. Here, among the Aleppo pines, curve after curve, the houses disappear and the sea will fill your eyes.
Bay of Zagare
In the stretch of coast between Pugnochiuso and Mattinata, two imposing ones cliff stacks (Diomede's arch and the little window of dreams) plunge into the crystalline sea, hiding one of the most beautiful sandy bays in Puglia. It is called Baia delle Zagare (but it is also known as Baia dei Mergoli). We recommend that you leave yours motorcycle to the Vignanotica bay car park. A kilometer of sand that is really worth discovering.
Among the coves with white rocks, immersed in the Mediterranean scrub of the Gargano National Park, the famous Vignanotica beach. Suggestive and spectacular as much as the Zagare, and just as deserving of an effort to reach it to immerse yourself in the bu of the Gargano. From a dirt path that makes space between the Mediterranean scrub you reach the splendid white beach that recalls the whiteness of the cliffs in the reflections that lick it.
The historic center of Vieste, commonly called "Vieste Vecchia", Stands on a rock overlooking the sea that extends from the beach of the castle to that of the" marina piccola ", crossing the thin strip of land of"Punta San Francesco". The ancient village, of medieval origin, has kept its original characters almost intact, such as the characteristic irregular alleys, squares and terraced houses embellished with small balconies (mignali) and joined at the streets by small and characteristic arches.
Do not miss the wonderful Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta of Vieste also known as the Cathedral of Vieste. A few meters from the cathedral you will be able to see a stone called lin Chianca Amara, on which women, old people and children were murdered in the distant 1554, during a raid by the hordes of the terrible Turkish pirate Draguth Rais.
Continuing towards the upper area of Vieste you arrive at Castello Svevo. The climb will leave you short of breath, not only for the (medium) fatigue but for the exciting panorama that you will discover at the top.
The Gargano on the table
Another point of historical interest in Vieste is certainly the Piazzetta Petrone. A terrace overlooking the sea, a unique view, a small square with a timeless charm. Enjoy a dinner here with local specialties, such as orecchiette with tomato and cacioricotta and turnip greens, strascinati with salted anchovies and breadcrumbs, troccoli with chickpeas, cavatelli with squid, stuffed aubergines and peppers, artichokes stuffed with fresh peas, mozzarella panzerotti. If you don't know that wine choose, the San Severo in its variants it is perfect to accompany the typical Garganica cuisine.