There’s a place in Italy where you can listen to the sea, savor the fragrance of citrus and pine trees, dive in the color of the woods, bump into some roe deer, hear the silence of the clearings among prickly pears and orchids, and taste the flavors of the agricultural tradition: that place is the National Park of Gargano.

Also known as the “Spur of Italy”, it’s entirely located in the province of Foggia, in Apulia. With almost 120 thousands hectares of extensions, it’s one of the biggest Park of the peninsula; a white, green and calcareous promontory that extends itself to the deep and crystal Adriatic Sea: an unique and harmonious union of sea and mountain through countless habitats, each one with its own colors. To its visitors Gargano offers the full package. There’ s no need to choose between sea, mountain, naturalistic or cultural itineraries: in this piece of Apulia there’s everything, and everything is livable in a ecofriendly way, between biking, horse riding and sailing boat trips.

Gargano lives and changes color in every season, but each moment of the year is suitable for visiting. The most fascinating months, though, are May and June, when temperatures are high, nature is in bloom, and there’s only few tourists and the journey is more authentic.

You will walk through the narrow streets and alleys of historic towns, among the characteristic white houses; you will hike in the famous Umbra Forest, and feel yourself little between the tremendous high trees. You will be alone in the silence, broken only by the sound of nature, the singing of woodpeckers, thrushes and tawny owls, to discover of a rich flora and fauna. The trails are many, of which the most suggestive is the night excursion. At lunch you will savor the rich wine and food tradition of Gargano: the olive oil, principal element of the local cooking, will go with the traditional orecchiette pasta, the pancotto with fava beans, the snail soup.

Tipical Orecchiette, photo by Caspar Diederik via Flickr
Tipical Orecchiette, photo by Caspar Diederik via Flickr

And then you will bike or walk over to the sea, in the small towns of Mattinata, Vieste or Peschici. To refresh yourself, you will dive into the crystal waters (you can do it in autumn too!) or go to the exploration of the wonderful caves. After relaxing in the white beach, you will taste fresh fish in the trabucchi, wood constructions hung on the sea and anchored to the rocks, that became a local icon.

Trabucco in the Gargano National Park, South Italy
Trabucco near the sea, ph. by fr1zz, via flickr

Moreover, you could do a boat trip towards Tremiti Islands, a magic place. Holiday house of the singer and songwriter Lucio Dalla, this is how he described them: Tremiti Islands are an extreme place, the place of my soul. This place favors my visionary way of telling the world and helps me to dream, especially when there’s a wonderful starry sky that you can only see above the Sahara. Just one advice: when you experience them, you must let the rhythms of the nature carry you; only in this way you will able to love them in their entirety.

Tremiti, photo of Antonello via Flickr
Tremiti, photo of Antonello via Flickr

There’s a place in Italy that looks like a paradise. That place is the National Park of Gargano.

Our green suggestion:  Booking a terraced house in the ecofriendly holiday camp Il Capricorno you will be in the heart of the Park, the perfect starting point for discovering the uncontaminated nature of Gargano.

Cover image: Gargano, South Italy, ph. by simo0082, via flickr

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