In the Adriatic Sea, we can find six islands and an area of just over 3000 square kilometers. The Tremiti islands are located near the Gargano promontory and are part of the homonymous nature park. It is a rocky archipelago (in all islands, only one has a sandy beach!) with scenic cliffs and many caves to visit.
Not all the islands of the archipelago are inhabited, but all of them constitute an important tourist destination in the province of Foggia, especially in summer with the increasing frequency of the ferries that connect them to the mainland. It is in fact possible to reach the Tremiti islands with daily connections by hydrofoils, ferries or motor ships departing from the Apulian ports of Manfredonia, Vieste, Peschici and Rodi Garganico.
The Tremiti islands can also be reached from Abruzzo, in the ports of Pescara, Ortona and Vasto, and from Molise, in the port of Termoli.
The islands of the Tremiti archipelago
The archipelago of the Tremiti islands is made up of six islands. San Nicola is the main island – although not the largest – where the municipality that manages the entire archipelago is based. The largest, however, is San Domino and is the one that hosts the only sandy beach in the entire archipelago, Cala delle Arene.
Precisely for this reason, San Domino constitutes the real main island, as it is the seat of the main tourist infrastructures, such as hotels or resorts. The remaining four islands, Capraia, Pianosa, Cretaccio and Vecchia, are completely rocky and uninhabited.
The ancient name of the archipelago is actually Diomedee Islands, a name that recalls the Greek hero Diomede who would have created the archipelago by throwing large boulders brought from Troy into the sea. Nature then took care of the thread of mythology: the songbirds that populate the Tremiti islands were in fact renamed Diomedee.
What to do and what to see in the Tremiti islands
The uncontaminated nature of the Tremiti islands makes them the ideal place for those who love marine diving. Part of these islands is in fact the marine nature reserve of the Tremiti Islands, a marine protected area established in 1989 and which has the purpose of protecting the fauna and flora present in the area.
The largest island, San Domino, which is also the only one where nightlife and tourism are concentrated, can be visited by land, discovering the hinterland and small lesser-known corners, or by sea, participating in an organized tour or renting a private boat, so you can admire its enchanting caves. Among these we remember the Grotta del Bue Marino, about 70 meters deep, and the Grotta delle Viole, so called because it is covered with limestone algae with a purple color.
The island of San Nicola, on the other hand, which is only 200 meters from San Domino, is home to the largest abbey in the Mediterranean on the sea: Santa Maria a Mare, dating back to the 11th century.
Of the remaining islands, Pianosa is an exception for visitors. Its area is, in fact, inaccessible to anyone and is part of the Integral Marine Reserve. Therefore, within 500 meters of the island, it is absolutely forbidden to sail and dive. The only authorized are those accompanied by licensed diving guides, and who have a fair experience with the seabed.
What to eat in the Tremiti islands?
The Apulian maritime culinary tradition finds, in the Tremiti islands, one of its greatest expressions. The reason is that the uncontaminated nature allows you to fish (where permitted, since there is a protected marine area!) Delicious fish, which swims in much less polluted waters.
Typical fish-based dishes of the Tremiti islands are grilled shellfish, mainly scampi and lobsters, the classic spaghetti with clams or the timeless fish soup. But there are also dishes that do not include the use of fish and that are more vegetarian alternatives. This is the case of the fish fe’jute (literally “escaped fish) a soup where, contrary to what the name implies, there is no fish but only vegetables, cherry tomatoes and stale bread. Or the scescille, meatballs made with stale bread, eggs and cheese and cooked in sauce.
Cover Image: OhGa!