Gargano National Park (Parco Nazionale del Gargano)
Covering more than 467 square miles (1,209 square kilometers), the Gargano National Park—one of Italy’s largest—is part of the boot-shaped country’s “spur,” and includes a small archipelago. Known for its abundance of natural beauty and diversity of terrain, the park is named for Monte Gargano, a mountain on the promontory.
Explore the coastline, the park’s two lakes, or the Vieste sea caves by boat. Hiking is also extremely popular, and organized walking tours take you through Gargano’s natural wonders on foot. And check out San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Padre Pio is buried—day trips to the village depart from cities such as Bari, Foggia, and Sorrento.
Things to Know Before You Go
Many of the park trails and some boat tours aren’t accessible to wheelchairs—confirm in advance.
Modest clothing covering shoulders and knees is required to enter the sanctuary at San Giovanni Rotondo. The church is accessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
If you’re driving to the Gargano National Park, take highway A14 and exit at Poggio Imperiale or Foggia. If you’re taking the train, get off at the Foggia or San Severo station, then hop on a local bus or train to the towns located inside the park.
When to Get There
Summer temperatures soar in Puglia, making midday hiking and cycling uncomfortably hot. Get started early, or opt for a boat tour, stopping for a dip in the Adriatic. Alternatively, explore on foot in spring or fall.
The Pilgrim Sanctuary at San Giovanni Rotondo
The main claim to fame of the small medieval town of San Giovanni Rotondo is the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, home of the crypt where the remains of Padre Pio—a local priest canonized in 2002—are kept. One of Italy’s top pilgrimage destinations, the town recently added a dedicated sanctuary designed by the architect Renzo Piano.
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