Vieste (Vìst in the local dialect), "the Gargano Pearl", is the eastern hamlet of the namesake promontory. The particular urban relocation of Vieste is linked to the karst nature of the Gargano Promontory, characterised by rocky layers often eroded by the sea.
The housing cluster rises on a small rocky peninsula, with a more or less symmetrical form, typical for its three bays separated by two heads: Punta di San Francesco, oriented to the east, and Punta di Santa Croce, oriented to the north. The first one is steep, raised and harshly rocky: here you will find the medieval centre, since this part of the peninsula offered the best safety requirements. In this part, rich of alleys, staircases and arches, you can find the most prestigious historical buildings (Church of San Francesco, cathedral). The second one, instead, which is lower, began to expand only around the XIX century. In this part you will find the port of Vieste, still important for fishing and for the maritime traffic towards the Isole Tremiti, Croatia and Manfredonia.
The numerous archaeological sites and findings discovered in various areas near the inhabited core attest the population of the territory of Vieste since the Palaeolithic. This was surely due to the mild climate, to the different sources of drinking water, to the fertile soil with an abundance of fruits, the variety of game meat and the abundance of fish in the various bays along the coast. Between the main buildings, as in other Apulia villages, we can find the Romanesque Cathedral and the Castle, both taken care of by Frederick II after the Venetians caused great damage to the town. In the vicinity of these buildings there is Porta ad Alt, characteristic for its acute arch, that was the main entrance of the city.
At the beginning of the Castle beach, the one to the south of the centre, a monolith of about 25 meters high called Pizzomunno, rises as the symbol of the Gargano Pearl, almost like is guarding Vieste. Along the coast you can admire some Trabucchi, ancient fishing installations, provided with long wooden arms that support a fishnet.
This is one of the historical elements that distinguish the Gargano area from the rest of the Apulia region. The feast of S. Maria di Merino, on the 9th of May, is one of the most important celebrations in the local landscape. Among the most characteristic culinary products you can try the stuffed aubergines, fish soup (ciambott), the k'lustr (Christmas fried sweets covered with honey and almonds), the calzungidd (sweets stuffed with chickpeas and cocoa), the castaggnedd (biscuits with almonds and cocoa), the mustazzul (biscuits with boiled must and cloves), the taradd nglppet (iced biscuits), chickpeas jam, pettole, troccoli pasta, marinated sundried tomatoes, orecchiette with turnip tops and fennel or white wine taralli.
Even the local traditional cheese is very appreciated, especially the varieties produced with podolic cows milk (caciocavallo cheese) and Garganic goat (cacioricotta caprino).
The agriculture resource is closely linked to the cultivation of olive trees; Ogliarola Garganica, Leccino and Coratina are the most common cultivars of cultivated olive trees. In addition to the olive oil, among the major agricultural products, they produce oregano and Viestani tomatoes (an egg shaped variety, less long than the San Marzano one). The selection of fish and seafood is also of great quality.
The surroundings of Vieste are distinguished by the presence of several tourist attractions of enormous geographical and historical interest. Vieste has always been a prominent landmark for departure and arrival to the Isole Tremiti, located not far from the north of the coast.
This is exactly the same thing for the Foresta Umbra, which constitutes an invaluable biological heritage for Southern Italy. The paleochristian necropolis La Salata, situated at east of the town, is one of the most ancient and characteristic of the Mediterranean basin. The Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Merino is located not so far away. The caves carved by the sea in the Gargano calcareous rock, generated cavities and rock formations of the most bizarre and varied forms.
The Pizzomunno could be a good example of this. The same goes for the Arco di San Felice, dug out from the erosion on the road to Pugnochiuso, south of Vieste.
The caves are the result of karst phenomenons, but also the corrosive action of the sea water and the wind gave an important contribution to this. Between the caves we remember the grotta sfondata, the Due Occhi, Rotonda, Pipistrelli, Serpente, Viola and the Smeralda.
Village of Vieste
Municipality of Vieste
Province of Foggia
altitude center: 43 m a.s.l.
The Municipality is part of:
Borghi Autentici d'Italia
Protected natural areas:
Parco Nazionale del Gargano
Corso L. Fazzini, 29 - tel: 0884712211
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