Holidays Puglia: Gargano National Park

The Gargano National Park was founded in 1995 and covers a total surface area of 121,118 hectares (just under 300,000 acres). It is situated in the province of Foggia and includes most of the Gargano promontory and of the lower lying marshes and flatlands.

The institution of the park has lead to the protection of many rare habitats particularly under threat, from the rocky cliffs of the coastline to the dunes which surround the lagoons of Lesina and Varano, and from the wide, hot valleys of the southern slopes, rich in rare and endemic species of plants and animals, to the beech woods which grow at an altitude of just 300 m above sea level.

The Mediterranean pinewoods of the Gargano Pino d'Aleppo pine trees, perhaps the only autochthonous in Italy, contain specimens of over 500 years old, and the steppes, if we exclude those in Sardinia, are home to the last specimens of the field hen (Gallina prataiola). Within the Park, there is the Foresta Umbra, a remainder of the primitive and millennial forest of the Gargano promontory where one of the last populations of the Italian roe deer lives. The Wet Areas (Zone Umide) of the Park are also very important and include, as well as the two lagoons of Lesina and Varano, the marshlands of Frattarolo and ex Daunia Risi, the mouth of the Fortore river, the area of the ancient Sant'Egidio Lake and the Sfinale Marsh. And, last but not least, there is the marine reserve of the Tremiti islands archipelago which, quite rightly, form part of the Gargano National Park.

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