Between the Gargano and the Tavoliere this sunny land of ancient transhumance embraces expanses of wheat, vineyards, fruit and vegetable crops. And then olive groves as far as the eye can see that give an extra virgin of great character
There Daunia is an angle of Puglia where sea, lagoon, plains and mountains coexist. But above all, some of the most important artistic monuments in the region. Yet the statistics tell us that this area, with the exception of the marine centers of the Gargano, is the least touristy. Large estates and farmhouses, genuine gastronomic tradition and the food industry come together in the Tavoliere di Puglia, the granary of Italy: kilometers of elementary and beautiful land, immense and sunny.
From North to south
For those coming from the north, the first exit on the A14 in the Apulian territory is Poggio Imperiale, but the town that can be reached in the shortest time is Lesina. Its lake, actually a lagoon that communicates with the sea, is worth getting to know closely with the lake tourist services. In the morning it is nice to have a visit to the fish market: a triumph of silversides, sea bream, sea bass and mullet. And above all eels, for which the village is known among gourmands. Bosco Isola, the strip of sand fragrant with myrtle and laurel that divides the lagoon from the sea, is crossed with the mountain bike or backpacker: the welcome is provided by flamingos and bee-eaters, badgers and foxes. Those who want to continue with the walk they head towards San Paolo of Civitate which offers the opportunity to travel along a well-marked stretch of the tratturo Magno. It connected L'Aquila to Foggia: an ancient highway used for the transhumance of animals in the past centuries. A motorway complete with a toll, as shown by the pandetta embedded in the wall at the Taverna di Civitate.
The fruit and vegetable excellences of Torremaggiore
Torremaggiore intertwines its history with that of Federico II. If time is not running out, you can visit the ruins of Castelfiorentino, the place where the emperor died. Torremaggiore, with San Ferdinando di Puglia and Lucera, it is also one of the vertices of the triangle where the fertile Apulian plain gives its best. Anyone who wants proof goes to the laboratory Longing for Puglia: this is where vases of tomato, an infinite collection of vegetables and creams to season bruschetta and extra virgin olive oil from the characteristic Peranzana cultivar, with a well-distributed ratio between bitter and spicy. After all, more than half of the tricolor olive oil comes from the Italian heel. A primacy that sprinkles tomatoes, fennel, artichokes, broccoli, asparagus and recalls another leading sector of the Apulian economy and tables, thefruit and vegetables, at the base of the most illustrious regional culinary preparations.
The return to the land of Lucera
This is how it announces itself among olive groves, vineyards and crops of wheat and vegetables Lucera with the imposing profile of the Swabian-Angevin walls, nine hundred meters of stone silhouetted on the horizon. Lucera is a city rich in history, set in the Roman amphitheater, built using a natural cavity in the ground, in the Gothic cathedral and in the Swabian castle. Dribbling one building and the other in the center reveals the refinement of the details that enrich Lombardi Palace And De Peppo Palace confirming the prosperity of the rural economy in the eighteenth century. In the countryside of Lucera, on the other hand, you can discover farms that have generations of 2.0 peasants in charge, with a degree in their pocket but who have chosen return to the earth. Witnesses Raffaele and Francesca Rossi, who in the Scorciabove Estate prepare pickled tomatoes and delicious past as well as wheat and vegetables for the wholesalers market. Trend confirmed by Nicola Faccilongo in Agricola Paglione. A stop in its vats is a must to discover the authenticity of this family that has helped to recover the Cacc 'and mmitte from Lucera Doc, sapid wine and full of ruby color.
Bovine and sheep transhumance
Three clues are said to prove: in the Masseria Pavoni the ancient practice of transhumance: bleating and mooing that come from there are ruled by one of the souls of the Carrino family, Cristoforo, a veterinarian. Great stop for a purchase of caciocavallo And pecorino.
A stop to fill the stomach and eyes
In the city picturesque corners bloom under the dim lights of the evening and for those who sit at the tables of the restaurant The Cortiletto Paolo Laskavj airs the agro lucerino complete with spaghetti with trio of yellow, red, green and cacioricotta tomatoes. In the morning, after 17 kilometers between gentle curves, one of the most beautiful is found cathedrals from Puglia, to Troy, perched on a ridge of the Monti Dauni. The rosette looks like a crocheted cotton doily, the bronze door is a masterpiece. It is not necessary to have a good nose to be captivated by the scents that accompany towards the Roflè pastry shop. Try the biscuit with fig vincotto and the soft cantucci with lemon. Towards Foggia, the road is a balcony that embraces the entire Tavoliere. After a walk among the baroque palaces of the capital you can take a look at the rooms of the civic Museum which house the collection of artifacts from the Italic city of Arpi. Then you have to calculate half an hour on the road along the S.S. 89 to be fascinated by the melting pot of medieval architectural styles basilica from Santa Maria Maggiore in Siponto. An imposing metal mesh structure, like a hologram, reconstructs the nearby church, older and now lost. The seafront and the boundless beaches of Manfredonia, generous with sun even in October, are just a few minutes away.
Typical dishes: between tradition and modernity
Some good local fish and shellfish dishes, too in the form of sandwiches, can be tried at Calamarando, but the presence of gastronomic deposits of earth still makes room with the characteristic rustic of the town, the farrata: the pastry is filled with ricotta, cinnamon, marjoram and boiled spelled.
Green and luxuriant Daunia
Lovers of botanical curiosities are accompanied by expert guides in theSalt Lake Oasis in search ofbladder grass rice fields, a small carnivorous plant. The paths that cross the Gargano are a godsend for those who love walking. The harsh karst landscape and the angular coast are softened by the fragrant Aleppo pines and gardens oforanges, carob trees And olive trees. Like on the road that leads to Mattinata. To try a oil dizzyingly we stop at Masseria Papone: the pitted one is recognized for its persistent spicy vein and almond aftertaste.
The last stage
It is worth taking the switchbacks that go up to Monte Sant'Angelo, built around the cave where the archangel Michael would appear. The neighborhood can be identified from afar Junno thanks to the imposing octagonal bell tower that rises above the roofs of the town. Armed with telephoto it's hard not to indulge in photos I remember to the Abbey of Pulsano in an irregular fissure of the promontory that offers panoramic views of the Tavoliere and the Gulf of Manfredonia. From here you can explore the Gargano National Park. Alternatively, with just over an hour's drive you can reach Apricena, the terminus of the sheep track that started from Celano. Not before a special purchase in Michele Sabatino's Macelleria, the muscisca: goat meat obtained with an archaic method of preservation, cut into small strips, seasoned with garlic and chilli and finally dried. A memory in strong colors.
by Riccardo Lagorio
top photo by Massimo Borchi / Sime
of Sale & Pepe
Longing for Puglia
S.P. Casalvecchio 1.300 KM
Contrada Scorciabove S.P Lucera-Palmori KM 3,000
Contrada Perazzelle S.P 116 KM 9,800
Masseria Pavoni Fratelli Carrino
Contrada San Giusto
S.S. 89 Garganica
Monte Sant'Angelo (FG)
Via Roma, 50
Via Don Luigi Sturzo, 62
Roflè pastry shop
Piazzale Antonio Salandra, 8
Salvatore Ognissanti Bakery
Via San Lorenzo, 142
Il Cortilett restaurantor
Via Family De 'Nicastri, 26
Lungomare Nazario Sauro, 19
Vico al Piano, 14
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