Where is Foresta Umbra?
On the Gargano Peninsula, all roads lead to Umbra Forest. You will probably get this impression when traveling and visiting the peninsula. The road signs to Foresta Umbra are everywhere and wherever you go, you will always find a sign for Foresta Umbra. Even if you choose the road in the opposite direction to that indicated by the sign, after a few kilometers you will find that you are on your way to ... of course Foresta Umbra 🙂
Dark Forest (translated directly from Foresta Umbra, although the version of the name "Dark Forest”I like it better) it covers a large area of the central part of the peninsula and the Gargano National Park. An important road runs through it, connecting the southern and northern parts of the peninsula. It is not a very broad road. Almost all its length, it is narrow and very curvy, and its condition says that she has already seen a lot. Only some fragments have a slightly widened shoulder. Anyway, this is how practically all the roads leading deep into the peninsula look like. It is always winding, narrow, bumpy, and often steep (you can see it in the photo above).
Italians treat Foresta Umbra as an unusual and exceptional place. Everyone who has traveled around Italy and already knows a few nooks and crannies of this beautiful country will agree with the Italians. It is a beautiful and unique place ... but for Italians. To us, it still remains beautiful, but it's not that special. What I mean?
The specificity and climate difference are to blame for everything. In Italy, it is rare to find a lush, lush, green, moist, fresh moss covered and dark forest. Sunny, dry and hot climate is not conducive to the formation of such forests, so they do not. Foresta Umbra is completely different than anything Italians are used to. It is the opposite of what they know best. This is due to the specific location and shape of the Gargano peninsula. It is almost entirely a vast upland, rising at a level of about 800 m above sea level. This creates a different climate, and a different climate favors the development of different vegetation, building a specific biome. Lush vegetation, lush greenery, unique richness of plant and animal species. Large, dense crowns of often very old trees, overgrown with thick moss and a carpet of creepers, all drowned in the dense twilight and in the cool, humid air that brings relief ... a typical Polish forest. A forest that most of us know and have almost at hand, within a dozen - several dozen minutes by car, and many have it right behind the fence of their home.
What for Italians is a rare miracle of nature, in this case for us is a dense forest that we know well. Just such a Dark Woods.
Well, sightseeing or not?
Drive and stay in Foresta Umbra for one hundred percent will be a pleasant rest from the scorching sun. It is a real paradise for lovers of nature and nature. If you like the naturalness of old, dense forests, you will enjoy visiting Foresta Umbra. However, it is worth planning a quiet, slightly longer walk here. The more that there are a lot of car parks in the forest, from which walking trails lead into the forest.
Below I present a simple map of the Foresta Umbra area, with characteristic points and walking paths marked.
Our day was very tense (described in detail in Apulia tour guide and itinerary) and it was not possible to stop for a longer walk. This time we just drove through the entire area of Foresta Umbra that we were on our way from Monte Sant'Angelo do Peschici.
However, if we ever look for a place to relax in Apulia, to rest from the beaches, sightseeing and tourist hustle and bustle, we will definitely come back here for a long walk.
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