The Beaches of Gargano

This summer, we set out to visit some of the “less traveled” areas of Italy, including both the Molise and Abruzzo regions.  However, we started out in Puglia, known for its long coast line, beautiful beaches, and sunny disposition.  While most people visit the “heel” of Italy (like we did last year), we stuck to the lesser known “spur” area of Puglia.  Home to the Gargano National Park, the spur is a virtually untouched area with the best beaches we have ever been to in Italy.  The two largest towns, which aren’t very large by most standards, are Vieste and Peschici, both of which are summer havens for Italians, Germans, and Austrians.  How can you go wrong when the sand feels like flour and the water is almost bath water?

The drive from Firenze to Vieste (our first destination) was quite long, so we decided to take a stop for lunch along the way.  We did a little siteseeing in Città della Pieve, which is a lovely little medieval town easily reachable from the A1 highway in Umbria.  Little did we know, it is known for the narrowest “street” in the world.  It is a functional alley connecting two parts of the town.  The locals told it was caused by a land dispute between two neighbors hundred of years ago.  Called “Vicolo Baciadonne,” the street gets its name because it is so narrow that you’d have to kiss to pass.  (Vicolo = alley Bacia = kiss and Donne = women)  This famous vicolo isn’t the only one in town.  In fact, there is a whole network of alleyways where you can easily lose yourself in Città della Pieve.

Città della Pieve

City full of alleys


Tiny doorways

Medieval alleyway

Vicolo Baciadonne

You can barely turn around!

When we rolled into Vieste about 6pm, we were very tired from traveling most of the day.  Luckily, the weather was absolutely perfect and we took a leisurely stroll through town and ate at a lovely restaurant near the beach.  The town is almost completely white and sits on white limestone rock cliffs.  From both land (and I imagine) water, the city is stunning.

Vieste from the bay

View of Vieste from afar

Limestone rock foundation

Point of Vieste

Butcher shop; just because I like it.

Vieste streets

Balconies everywhere

We stayed in Vieste for two nights and spent our one full day on the beach.  Bobby, who generally doesn’t like the beach and complains about sand, thought the beach was amazing.  The sand, which the Italians describe as “farina” (flour) and I described as “zucchero a velo” (powdered sugar), was the softest I’ve ever felt.  I’m really not exaggerating.  The sand was so fine that you couldn’t feel the slightest pebble and it made for some pretty great sand castles as well!

Studying on the beach :(

Mobile bikini stand

Sand castle building with Vieste in the background

Finished product!

Our hotel’s beach was so shallow that you could walk almost all the way to the island in the distance.  There were several sandbars, so you could literally walk on water.

The arrow is Bobby; he’s still standing up!

Sunset on the beach in Vieste

The following day, we visited both Peschici and Rodi Garganico, which are known for their trabucci, or large dock-like structures from which fisherman cast nets.  You can find them dotting the shoreline all around the Gargano peninsula, some of which are still in use today.  In Peschici, we actually ate at a restaurant that is built on/beside an active trabucco which serves the fish it catches using the contraption.

Trabucco n our way to Rodi Garganico

Trabucco in Rodi Garganico

Bay of Rodi Garganico

Walkway around Rodi Garganico

Tropical oasis

View of Peschici from afar

Peschici beach

Our dinner was quite the experience.  We had a view of the trabucco and ate fresh sea bass (which was enormous!) caught that very day. After paying for our dinner (where the prices weren’t advertised before hand), we decided we should go into the fishing business!

View from the restaurant’s trabucco in Peschici

The trabucco with restraurant to the left

Our HUGE sea bass