A wonderful experience from Otranto to Gargano
Gargano is a peninsula partly mountainous and partly covered by the remains of an ancient forest, Foresta Umbra, the only remaining part in Italy of the ancient oak and beech forest that once covered much of Central Europe as well as the Apennine deciduous montane forests biome. Horace spoke of the oaks of Garganus in Ode II, ix.
The coast of Gargano is rich in beaches and tourist facilities. In the north are two major salt lakes Lesina and Varano. On the northern side of Gargano and on the shores of the lake with the same name stands the maritime town of Lesina. Monte Gargano is the site of the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the archangel Michael, Monte Sant’Angelo sul Gargano.
Today tourism is thriving with several hotels and campsites, in particular along the seaside of Marina of Lesina, give the possibility of staying in this suggestive area. Tourist attractions include the cathedral, the episcopal palace, the Abbey of Santa Maria of Ripalta and the volcanic rocks dating back to the Triassic era, known as “Black Stones”, as well as the Sanctuary of San Nazario.
The National Park of Gargano is one of the few national protected areas efficiently contributing to the “un Bosco per Kyoto” enterprise, which in 2007 has involved several schools in the realization of projects for a social and responsible tourism. It is one of the most appreciated areas, unique for the decrease of fires and for the politics of environmental awareness.