Secrets of Vieste
Vieste stubbornly keeps his secrets. It is still unknown when it was really created and where its name came from. So we don't know two basic things that make up the town's genesis. It's hard. We have to manage without it somehow. Anyway, life abhors a vacuum, and unless we come up with hard historical data, there is always a legend connected with each place, limited only by imagination. Vieste also has its legend, which is quite interesting.
Did Noah live in Vieste?
Of course he lived! At least that's what a legend passed down through generations says. But what does that explain? Contrary to appearances, a lot.
Noah, tired of the flood, when he finally left the ark, was looking for a place to settle. He chose the Gargano peninsula and on it the place where he founded the city. He lived the rest of his life here with his wife Vesta, who was buried here after her death. Noah, after his wife's death, named the city after his wife to commemorate his wife's name, and we have Vieste.
Two birds with one stone: the origins of the city's founding and its name explained in one fell swoop, in a simple and beautiful way.
An interesting story
Well, it's easy to guess that historians are not satisfied with such an explanation and are constantly looking. What we can be sure is that the first traces of settlement found in this area are from the Neolithic (around 6000 BC), but the date of the city's founding is unclear. The history of the city is turbulent.
The attractive location of Vieste (at the top of the Gargano peninsula) allowed the city owner to control sea traffic along the Adriatic Sea. The city has always been a tasty morsel and it is not difficult to guess that wars were fought over it constantly. The owners of the city changed (the area belonged, among others, to: Byzantines, Normans, Lombards, Venetians and Arabs). Most of the cultures present here left more or less visible traces. It is worth looking around for them.
The wealth of the city also attracted pirates who repeatedly invaded and plundered the city. The memento of the bloodiest of the invasions is still present in the city. In the vicinity of the cathedral Santa Maria Assunta is located Bitter Stone (Chianca Amara). In 1554, a pirate commanding a group of sea thugs Cute, made an attack on the city. Vieste then ran down profusely with blood. Dragut murdered around 5000 townspeople in cold blood by executing them. The event took place on the stone that is called today Bitter Stone (Chianca Amara).
Another dramatic event occurred on July 30, 1627. Then the city was hit by the largest magnitude 6,7 earthquake to date, shaking the entire Gargano peninsula. About 5000 people died again (some unlucky number for Vieste). The city was largely ruined, but today you are unlikely to find any traces of these events.
Today Vieste is an exceptionally beautiful and well-organized tourist resortalthough it was not a popular tourist destination before. It was only about 50 years ago that the city decided to focus heavily on tourism development and it was a bull's eye. The port, which until now had mainly industrial functions, was turned into a yacht marina, several hotels were built and the city's adventure with tourism began.
The growing tourist traffic forced further work to improve the aesthetics of the city. Small guesthouses, cafes and restaurants were built in the old buildings. The city developed and became beautiful in the eyes, attracting more tourists. This process continues today, but today Vieste is a truly well-organized tourist paradise. On both sides of the city, there are two huge, clean and sandy beaches along the coastline. At first glance, you can see that the city cares about the quality of its beaches. Large and convenient parking lots and other infrastructure are prepared by the beaches. Rarely any small town in Italy has such a large and comfortable beach, and here there are as many as two. Both are sandy.
You can see the panorama of San Lorenzo beach in the form of a one-minute video below.
There are no huge hotel blocks in the city itself. The development of the hotel base focused on smaller hotels and boarding houses. Even the largest hotels in the city are not as large as those we know from typical tourist destinations. But there is an infinite number of guesthouses, apartments, mini-hotels, integrated into the entire city. Thanks to this, while in Vieste, you do not have the impression that you are in a tourist factory. The atmosphere of a small, exclusive holiday resort is rather dominant.
It is enough to add Italian cuisine, served at a really high level, sprinkled with local wine (lick your fingers) and we have a recipe for a perfect holiday. We couldn't find a place where the food was of poor quality. It is possible that we were extremely lucky, but most likely they just cook well here.
We have been choosing restaurants for years according to the same key: we ask locals where to eat well. And that's it. It always works. In Vieste we did not ask about it when picking up the key at the hotel and in the end we just entered the first open restaurant that caught our eye. There was no surprise. The cook savoring delicious seafood in various editions, a bottle of local red wine, some starter, and (for reasons unknown to me) I ordered fries 🙂 ... I just like fries, but why did I order them then? I have no idea.
As the waiter brought the fries (as the last of the entire menu ordered), I saw a slight puzzlement in his eyes. Fortunately, my broad smile gave him a clear signal of who this strange accessory is for.
The total bill for two people was EUR 32.
Honestly, if I could, I would have ordered the same again (even with those unfortunate fries), but I couldn't. However, the portions were so huge that I barely finished my share (I didn't finish the fries). After supper, we lazily rolled out of the restaurant and slowly rolled over to the hotel.
It was 32 EUR best spent. I swear it!
In addition to the beaches and delicious cuisine in Vieste, you also have a beautiful old town, with narrow streets, glued to sheer cliffs, with restaurants and cafes located at viewpoints. The views from the high cliffs can make you dizzy. The varied coastline of the city means that every few steps we have to admire a different, fantastic scenery.
As if that were not enough, on one of the beaches in Vieste there is the famous rock spire of Pizzomunno, which is often the photographic flagship of the Italian coast.
If, however, you were not enough attractions, in close proximity to Vieste you will find a whole lot of small, intimate beaches. If you have a car, you can relax on a different beach every day. It is enough to drive a few kilometers. North of Vieste the beaches are sandy, but if you drive south from Vieste, you will find pebble beaches.
It is hard to believe that in such natural conditions the tourist history of Vieste's development is so short. On the other hand, Vieste is not a comfortable destination even today. It takes a little effort to get here. Travel agencies practically do not have this town on offer. This is probably due to the lack of large hotels in the city, which are the easiest to sell in a typical tourist offer. To come here, you have to organize everything yourself.
How to get to Vieste?
From the point of view of a person who has already been to Vieste, the matter is not particularly complicated in practice. From Poland to Apulia we have cheap flights to: Bari and Brindisi. Bari seems to be a less troublesome destination as it is closer to Vieste and there are direct bus connections from the airport. So if I were going on a stationary vacation, I would choose a flight to Bari, and then a bus to Vieste. You will receive detailed information on how to travel from Bari to Vieste after clicking on the list of connections from Bari to Vieste - [click]. Unfortunately, the page with information about connections is not available in Polish.
However, if Vieste were just one of the stops on my Apulia tour, I would choose the city to which I have the most convenient air connection (Bari or Brindisi) and then rent a car.
The ready plan of visiting Apulia is described in the entry: Apulia - sightseeing - [click], while the details of safe and cheap car rental can be found in the entry: Car rental in Bari and Brindisi - [click].
Below are some suggestions for accommodation in Vieste, which as you will see for yourself, are really unique. The quality, location and price of these accommodations are the best advertisement for Vieste and the city's leisure. The comfort of rest here exceeds the most famous Italian resorts in Poland by a class, and at the same time the price remains very attractive.
First, some photos and information about the hotel (or in fact a guesthouse) where we stayed. There are a lot of this kind of guesthouses here. They are located in tenement houses and often they are multi-room apartments converted into single hotel rooms.
We found a very nice accommodation at a good price.
The location is the undoubted advantage of this guesthouse. The guesthouse is situated just a few steps (maybe 100 meters) from the most attractive center of the town. Just perfect. Everywhere nearby. After a hearty dinner in one of the many nearby restaurants, when you only dream about going to bed… priceless. We took advantage of the location of the hotel to wander painfully around the historic part of the city after dark. Then the city looks great! We walked almost until the night, and when we wanted to come back, we were in the room after three minutes.
The interior of the guesthouse and the room were very pleasant, bright, exceptionally well-kept and clean. Almost as if it was just renovated and we would be the first guests. At first glance, you can see that the owner takes care of cleanliness in the rooms, especially in the bathroom, with exceptional care. It's nice to enter.
We paid 50 EUR per night for a double room. Very affordable price.
The room includes breakfast (typical Italian: croissant + coffee) which is served in a friendly cafe in the building next door.
Unfortunately, the hotel is very poorly marked and we could not find it when we arrived. There is a small plaque on the facade at the entrance, the size of a postage stamp, and nothing else. It took us several minutes to find the guesthouse, even though we had precise coordinates entered for navigation. If you don't know Italian, calling the owner of the guesthouse won't do you any good. The guy doesn't know a single word in English. Fortunately, the owner uses Google Translator very well, and once we found the guesthouse and entered it, there was no problem with sharing the necessary information with each other.
If you decide to book this accommodation, below are photos showing the entrance to the building and precise GPS coordinates that will save you a long search.
To sum up: I sincerely recommend the Dream & Relax guest house - [click]. If I was in Vieste again I would use it again.
See more photos and check current prices in the Dream & Relax guest house - [click]
Dream & Relax Pension, GPS coordinates:
41.882449, 16.176547 - click and route
If you want to live a little further from the historic center, where life is vibrant until late in the evening, and at the same time you want to be close to the beach, the Navicri guesthouse will be a great choice. From the guesthouse to the largest sandy beach in Vieste San Lorenzo it's only 500m away, and if you don't feel like going to the beach, on the roof of the guesthouse you have access to a recreational private swimming pool, sun terrace and hot tub. However, if you do not want to go to the swimming pool and the roof terrace, you can see the sea from the window of the room 🙂
Can you ask for more? ... and all this for just over 50 EUR for a double room with breakfast.
See more photos and check the current prices in the Navicri B&B - [click]
The property is located in the historical part of the old town, with a private terrace situated on a rocky cliff overlooking Vieste, the lighthouse and the sea. The terrace is available to hotel guests. You don't have to go far looking for views. You have them available at the hotel and you can enjoy them even over coffee and breakfast.
You cannot drive to the entrance to the guesthouse. You have to walk a bit up the stairs.
See more photos and check the current prices in the Casa Giulia guesthouse - [click]
Useful GPS coordinates
Chianca Amara - Bitter Stone, GPS coordinates:
41.881540, 16.181361 - click and route
San Lorenco beach parking, GPS coordinates:
41.886393, 16.167680 - click and route
Parking at the Pizzomunno rock spire and the beach, GPS coordinates:
41.878616, 16.176451 - click and route
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