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Nature

The endless stretch of sand of the Scialara beach is a splendid venue in the Gargano district in Apulia.

Scialara beach, the number-one location on the Gargano coast

05 July 2022

It is dominated by a picturesque limestone massif, at the top of which is situated the historic centre of ViesteCovered in fine white sand, the beach is bathed by shallow, crystalline waters, offering a glimpse of the magnificent natural world of the Adriatic coastline

 

1. Walking, swimming and jogging

With its 3 kilometres of fine sand the Scialara Beach offers an extensive range of services and bathing facilities. It is easily accessible and thus anyone may come and spend some time at this site, including seniors and children, who will be able play to their heart’s content in total freedom.

Swimmers who are highly skilled will have to reach a point quite distant from the shore to find deep water, while those who are less experienced will simply bask in the long stretches of shallow water. In the early morning or at dusk the shore awaits you and you can go out and start jogging surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Along the coast you will find long stretches of sand where few people are present, if that's what you are looking for, but there are also numerous beaches furnished with sun-lounger beds, parasols, shower facilities and restaurants if you prefer a real comfort zone. At the centre of Vieste the beach can be easily reached on foot from the Lungomare Mattei

2. A mysterious attraction

At the very beginning of the Scialara Beach you will find a rock monolith which is called the “Pizzomunno”. With its mysterious charm this 25-metre tall white limestone pillar has inspired various legends, the various versions of which are all linked to a heart-rending love story. According to the mythical tale Pizzomunno was a strong, proud young man who fell in love with a girl called Cristalda. However, the Sirens also became enamoured with the young fisherman, and following his rejection they kidnapped Cristalda and dragged her down into the depths of the sea. Pizzomunno became petrified due to the pain he suffered, and the monolith itself is what remains of him. You might reflect on this sad story and walk around the monolith, expressing your own wishes and sustaining the belief that your desires will be fulfilled as soon as possible ...

3. A castle in a panoramic position

Only the exterior structure of the fortress may be visited, however it is still worth spending some time at this site to enjoy the scenic views of surrounding areas from a high level. The Swabian Castle is in fact the second main attraction of the Scialara Beach district. Situated at the edge of the historic centre of Vieste and clearly visible from the beach, it stands on a spectacular cliff overlooking the sea.

The history of the fortress, which was constructed to protect the town, dates back to 11th century. The structure underwent various periods of renovation and was subject to various attacks by the Saracens but its essential structure has remained intact. The mighty ramparts, the towers, the surrounding walls and certain prestigious details,  such as the remains of sturdy external barbican structures, are fascinating. It is for this reason that the Scialara Beach is also referred to as the “Castle Beach”. 

4. An “archeo-trekking” experience

Some tour operators may invite you to enjoy the experience of participating in a trekking outing to discover interesting archaeological sites along the coast of the Gargano National Park.

The surrounding areas of Vieste preserve evidence and the remains of ancient historical periods, such as the prehistoric graffiti inside the Grotta di Sfinalicchio. To reach this site you will have to walk through the woods and evergreen bushland typical of the Mediterranean coast. You will walk along hidden pathways and at certain points you will be offered broad views across the sparkling sea. On the clearest days some of the  Croatian islands will be visible. You will observe the remains of a necropolis dating back to the 6th century BC and then walk down to the village, where you may decide to visit the new Archaeological Museum of Vieste, which preserves many historical objects and artefacts dating from prehistoric periods to the Middle Ages. 

5. A charming village

The wonderful historic centre of Vieste overlooks the sea from its high position on a rocky peak. Vieste Vecchia, so called to distinguish it from the more modern portion of the municipality along the coast, is an extraordinarily intact medieval village, with a maze of lanes, alleyways and squares positioned high above the shoreline. The rows of small houses are connected by means of old typical archways. Within the ancient walls you will find a dense maze of narrow streets, stepped pathways, large “palazzi” and churches.

The Cathedral, which, like the fortress, dates back to the Middle Ages is certainly worth a visit. Continue strolling through the town until you reach Via Judeca and the Jewish ghetto overlooking the sea. This is a suggestive setting, especially in the evening, thanks to the well-designed and carefully maintained street lighting. It is a rewarding experience to calmly wander around the centre and perhaps purchase some earthenware, ceramic or Lecce stone handicraft products as souvenirs.