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Stage 8 - Giovinazzo - Vieste

Stage 8

Puglia is also the star of the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia, with a 200 km stretch connecting Giovinazzo and Vieste, in the Gargano National Park.

Stage 8 - Giovinazzo - Vieste

Enclosed within a splendid fortified promenade, Giovinazzo is an enchanting seaside village, rich in artistic treasures, illuminated in the evenings by the lights of bars and restaurants.
The elegant Arch of Trajan is the gateway to the historic centre, where the profile of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta stands out against the roofs. A true masterpiece of Apulian Romanesque, the church houses the Byzantine icon of the Madonna di Corsignano, the patron saint celebrated for the entire month of August. Town life revolves around Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, with the Fountain of the Tritons in the middle. Not far from the town is the archaeological area of Dolmen di San Silvestro, a large collective tomb from the Bronze Age.

 

Giovinazzo

20 km from the road, the convoy with its pink-jerseyed leader crosses Trani, a striking maze of paved alleys that leads to Piazza Duomo in front of the stunning Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino, one of the most beautiful in the entire region. This Romanesque treasure perched above the sea has been named a "messenger monument of a culture of peace" by UNESCO.
Not to be missed, among the many monuments, are Castello Svevo, the work of Frederick II, and the Synagogue of Scolanova (13th century), testimony to the ancient city of Giudecca and today still a place of worship for the Jewish community.

Trani - Puglia

We take a detour inland from the coast to admire Castel del Monte, the "fortress of mysteries", one of the most fascinating monuments left to us by Frederick II and included on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1996. Universally considered an outstanding example of medieval architecture, the castle combines different stylistic elements and forms a concentration of geometric and mathematical symbols that have fascinated scholars for centuries. Even today, it is not clear what the building's function was.

Castel del Monte - Puglia

We resume the race's trail as it climbs towards Monte Sant'Angelo, a municipality of the Gargano National Park famous for the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo. This fine testimony to Lombard art was built around the Sacra Grotta, a mystical place where the Archangel appeared and a destination for pilgrims from all over the world since the 5th century. In 2011, UNESCO included the Sanctuary in the serial site The Longobards in Italy: Places of Power (568-774 AD), which includes monuments scattered throughout the peninsula, from Apulia to Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Monte Sant'Angelo

The Gargano boasts another UNESCO heritage site, the Umbra Forest, added in 2017 to the transnational site Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe. The beech forests protected by UNESCO are distinguished by their antiquity, natural value and the incredible biodiversity they preserve.

 


Umbra Forest

Descending from Monte Sant'Angelo, the cyclists in the Giro d'Italia travel along the splendid Gargano coast.

In Mattinata we find the first large sandy beach that is easy to access. The town is known as the "White Butterfly of the Gargano" due to the curious shape marked out by the set of white houses nestled in the hills.

 

Vignanotica Beach

Along the coast, we can admire the white stacks of Zagare Bay and the Arch of San Felice, natural works of art carved into the rock by the sea and wind.

Vieste

Vieste

The eighth stage ends in Vieste, the easternmost town in Gargano. The whole village, situated at the top of two long white sandy beaches, is a succession of winding alleys, steps and arches that snake and emerge among the white houses typical of the area. At the beginning of Castello beach stands the Pizzomunno, a white limestone monolith about 25 m high. Also worth visiting are the Cathedral of the Assumption in Romanesque-Apulian style, the Castle and the rock of Santa Eufemia with the Vieste lighthouse. Here, inside a cave, more than 200 votive inscriptions in Greek and Latin made by passing sailors have been found, some dating back to the 3rd century BC.

By bike

The itineraries provided by Viaggiare in Puglia allow you to travel freely and sustainably, surrounded by nature, art and unforgettable landscapes.

Harsh and gentle nature
An itinerary in contact with the wild nature of Gargano, from the cliffs to the forest, visiting historic villages and places of faith.
The route starts from Manfredonia and takes in the splendid Zagare Bay (Mattinata), Vieste, Lake Varano, San Matteo in San Marco in Lamis, San Giovanni Rotondo (where you can visit the church dedicated to Padre Pio) and Monte Sant'Angelo with the evocative Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo (UNESCO World Heritage). Also not to be missed is the variant that leads from Vieste to the Umbra Forest, the green lung of Apulia. Discover the itinerary

Zagare Bay


A lunar adventure
An itinerary through the Murgia steppe and then among the villages perched on ancient canyons, with a variant that climbs to the Murgia Plateau.
Crossing the Alta Murgia National Park, you pass in front of the majestic Castel del Monte, the fortress of Frederick II of Swabia, before reaching Gravina di Puglia, with its imposing canyon, and Altamura, home to one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Southern Italy, as well as one of Apulia's four Palatine churches.
This route also includes a variant that connects Canosa di Puglia to Gravina di Puglia. Discover the itinerary

Altamura Cathedral


The Imperial Coast
From the Romanesque of the North to the mercantile tradition of Bari. A 150 km bike trip along the Adriatic coast to discover treasures like Trani, the salt pans of Margherita di Savoia, Siponto, Bisceglie, Molfetta, Giovinazzo, Bitonto and Bari Vecchia. Discover the itinerary.


Salt pans of Margherita di Savoia


The Adriatic Cycle Route
The Adriatic Cycle Route starts from Apulia, forming a 1300 km long national cycle path that connects Santa Maria di Leuca to Trieste. The Apulian stretch, 500 km long, offers two variants. Once you reach Manfredonia, you can choose to continue on the classic route along the Adriatic around Gargano, or to avoid the promontory and resume the main itinerary in Lesina. The first route is more challenging, but more varied and interesting from the landscape point of view.

Ciclovia Adriatica, mappa dei percorsi intorno al Gargano - Puglia

Adriatic Cycle Route, map of the routes around Gargano - Puglia

After Gargano, you pedal along minor country roads, alternating with stretches in urban centres and places of tourist interest such as Bari, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, the excavations of Egnazia, Cisternino, Ostuni, and Santa Maria di Leuca, the last stage of the cycle route.
It is advisable to avoid July and August, when the traffic is intense, as is the heat.
For more information on the route, download the Roadbook of the Apulian route (PDF).