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One of the most beautiful areas on earth, Il Promontorio del Gargano (gar·GAH·noh) is the promontory sticking out above ‘il tacco’, the heel of Italia.  You can also think of it as la caviglia-the ankle spur of Italia.  Surrounded by the Adriatico on 3 sides, the area is more like an island; biodiverse with unique flora and fauna. Most of the promontorio is a protected area and marine reserve, Il Parco Nazionale del Gargano, which includes le Isole Tremiti and the ancient Foresta Umbra. Fortunately, this has prevented overdevelopment by large multinational hotels and resorts.

Il Gargano is full of campsites, inexpensive, rustic accommodation and B & B’s.  The campeggi e villaggi turistici -campsites and tourist villages, are ben attrezzati-well equipped. Go with a camper and all the gear, or just a vehicle and a tent.  There are villette-little cabins for rent, but you need to bring your own sheets and towels, so these are mostly used by locals. This website (in Italiano) lists Gargano campsites. I have spent many weekends at different sites in the Gargano  with my cugini and their camper.  In July, we stayed at Campeggio Baia di Campi, near Vieste. Here is a video of the private beach during my windy morning walk:

Nothing like having a spiaggia all to myself! We were going to paddle by canoa-kayak to la Grotta dei due occhi, a sea cave 10 minutes away.  Unfortunately, it became too windy to go, so I will hopefully have the opportunity to go again. The campsite had a shuttle bus to whitewashed Vieste, 20 minutes away. Read about other campsites I have stayed at in Campeggio sul Gargano.

View of Vieste from the SS89

The winding road around the Gargano, SS 89 from Foggia, has sharp turns and viste mozzafiato (VIS·teh moz·zah·FYAH·toh)-breathtaking views.  You will not see any dehydrated (yuk!) camping food in Puglia.  Most campsites have a little market selling fresh fruit, giant watermelon, mozzarelle and other necessities.  Fresh fish is never far away, so I get to enjoy Mauro’s insalata di polpo ubriaco-drunken octopus salad!Most of the tourists visiting the Gargano area are Italian, especially in the summer.  Many Germans drive their campers down too, but you will not meet many North Americans here.  Il Gargano is the place to visit to improve your Italiano!  This post is written as part of the monthly #dolcevitabloggers linkup, hosted by Jasmine of Questa Dolce Vita, Kelly of Italian at Heart and Kristie of Mamma Prada the 7th -14th of every month. This month’s topic is ‘Hidden gems’.  Il Gargano is not so much ‘hidden’, as remote, unknown and not easily accessible without either a car or a lot of time.  I hope you all make it here one day!  As the Gargano website says, visit il Gargano ‘per una vacanza tra natura, mare e cultura’…for a holiday among nature, sea and culture!

More Il Gargano posts by Cristina: Isole Tremiti, I Trabucchi del Gargano, Campeggio sul Gargano, Santa Maria di Siponto.

Ciao e buon viaggio, Cristina