Italian land and nature: The beaches of Mattinata
- WTI Magazine #98 Dec 17, 2017
Mattinata is a splendid town in Apulia, famous for its beautiful beaches and especially because of its crystal clear sea. It is located in one of the most beautiful places in Apulia: the Gulf of Manfredonia, on the coast of the Gargano promontory. Located in the Gargano National Park, in the province of Foggia, the town sits between two hills, on a stretch of coast covered by olive trees and surrounded by woods and the sea.
The coast that goes from Mattinata to Vieste, characterized by white cliffs, rocks and caves is one of the most popular places. One of the most beautiful beaches is the pebble one in the Bay of Vignanotica. Full of caves, the beach can be reached by a path surrounded by Mediterranean greenery.
The Bay of Mergoli (or Bay of the Faraglioni) between Mattinata and Vignanotica, is particularly beautiful and well known and appreciated. The high cliffs, the Faraglioni, the pines and the white pebble beach, all common features of this bay and of all the beaches of Mattinata make this area one of the most fascinating of the Gargano and of Apulia.
A bit of history
Born as a small village for trade between the Daunian people and the Greeks with the name of Apeneste, it became Matinum after the Roman colonization. Destroyed and abandoned due to a strong earthquake and to Saracen invasions, the area began to be populated during the sixteenth century by mountain men who came down to the valley from the surrounding hills. It was a small feud belonging to the Honor of Monte Sant'Angelo for several centuries and was a favourite recreation location for the nobles of Manfredonia and Monte.
What to see in Mattinata
A visit to the town must begin from the historical centre which features several examples of typical eighteenth century dry stone buildings called pagghiÈre ("haystacks"); followed by a visit to a number of prestigious buildings such as Palazzo Mantuano, built in 1840 and now used as the town library, and the stately Barretta palace or Palazzo Giordano, which dates back to the early twentieth century and today is the town hall.
On Monte Saraceno both the necropolis with hundreds of tombs and relics of the Daunia civilization, and the ruins of the ancient Benedictine abbey of the Holy Trinity are worth a visit. Another lovely place surrounded by nature is the Convento Pulsanese of Sperlonga nestled in a valley amongst olive trees.
The old mills in Agnuli, just a few metres from the sea, date back to the first-fifth centuries A.D.
Finally, do not miss an evening stroll along the small and narrow streets of the Iunno neighbourhood.