The Gargano Peninsula & Tremiti Islands

The thickly forested, highly venerated, and eternally beautiful Gargano Peninsula is the spur on the heel of Italy's famous boot shape. Some 39km (23.4 miles) northeast of Foggia, it is ringed with fishing villages turned resorts and a favorite holiday spot among Italians (and a few Germans).

The Bronze Age Daunia people of the 7th century BC called this 3,500-foot-high lump of limestone home, and the castle museum at Manfredonia preserves several of their fantastic carvings.

Aside from this and a few medieval castles and pilgrimage churches, the Gargano is mainly a destination for those seeking a secluded rocky lagoon in which to swim, a hike in the oak-shaded interior Foresta Umbra, and isolation on the tiny Tremiti Islands.

The Gargano is packed late July through August, and with several important pilgrimage towns, it gets busy around any church holiday.

Tips & links

Tourist info

Manfredonia's tourist office has general Gargano information; the Gargano towns have banded together on the Internet at (in Italian).

How to get to (and around) the Gargano
The gateway to the Gargano is Manfredonia, but to get there you'll have to go through the (fairly humdrum) provincial capital of Foggia.'
  • By car: Follow the SS89, which runs from Foggia to Manfredonia then skirts the ultrascenic Gargano coastline.
  • By train: To Foggia, there are 6 daily trains from Rome (4–5 hr.); 8 daily trains from Naples (100–175 min.); and half-hourly trains from Bari (67–100 min.).
  • Buses from Foggia: Between the companies Ferrovie del Gargano (tel. 0881-772-491 or toll-free 167-296-247) and SITA (tel. +39-0881-773-117), there are 21 buses (3 Sunday) from Foggia's train station to Manfredonia (45 min.). Six of them continue on to Vieste (another 85 min.). From Manfredonia there are 18 SITA buses (5 Sunday) up to Monte Sant'Angelo (40–60 min.), 3 of which (none Sunday) come direct from Foggia.
Padop Pio

The last full week of each September (the official Feast Day is Sept 23), Apulia celebrates one of Italy's newest (and most popular) saints—a local boy, healer, and general do-gooder officially called St. Pio of Pietrelcina since he was cannonoized in 2002, but more commonly known as Padro Pio. Padre Pio devoted his life to healing the sick, performed a few miracles, and even received the stigmata before he died in 1969. Rooms anywhere on the Gargano Peninsula can be hard to come by at this time of year as busloads of the faithful flock to Pio's church and tomb in San Giovanni Rotondo and to other shrine towns such as Monte Sant'Angelo.

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Tourist info:
Manfredonia's tourist office has general Gargano information; the Gargano towns have banded together on the Internet at (in Italian).

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