Travel advice: Italy – A visit to the Gargano

View of Pescichi

It’s April 2023 and I recently found this blog post from 2019 that I never posted! I think I drafted it and then was planning to match it up with photos once at my home desktop … and then never did. Better late than never, I say, and we really do recommend Gargano as a place to visit. We really fell in love with Puglia and Sicily!

We’ve often been inspired by articles in the New York Times to guide our travels. In fact, this was one of our inspiration’s for last year’s trip (2018) to Puglia (we also visited Sicily, Matera and Ravello) and we loved Puglia so much and the rest of our trip, that we decided to return to Italy again this year for our holidays.

View from Gli Orti di Malva, a great, great B&B

And even though the Gargano peninsula seemed a little out of the way, the NYT article we read made it seem so charming, we wanted to fit it into our itinerary (which this year focused on Umbria and Abruzzo). By breaking up the travel and staying in Abruzzo on the way there and back (which we’d highly recommend for its natural beauty), it was manageable to visit Gargano (or you could pop up from the south of Puglia, if you’re there already).

Our timing was a little off though. As soon as October hits, it seems like most places are deserted, and the agriturismo accommodation that we like so much, closes down for the winter. We didn’t mind it being quiet, but it did seem a little eerie sometimes, like a zombie apocalypse had hit, particularly if we visited a town during siesta time (which could be as long as from noon to 6pm!).

Everything about our meal at Porta di Basso was … perfect.

In the end, we would recommend a visit here, but in September rather than October (or the start of the tourist season) and as a somewhat luxury holiday: staying at gorgeous, not-cheap accommodation, and treating yourself to high-end gourmet meals: because these really were stunning.

The thing is, the view of Pescichi, driving in, took my breath away. And then the room in Gli Orti di Malva where we stayed in took my breath away further. It was the type of room that I would have been happy not to leave, just to sit atop these views of the ocean, high up on a cliff. It was magical. Then, I wasn’t even paying attention that the accommodation is connected to one of the best places to eat in the Gargano, Porta di Basso. Aside from ridiculously gourmet breakfasts, we treated ourselves to a dinner at this Michelin-starred restaurant and it was WONDERFUL.

I love that we got a photo of us with the chef!

We couldn’t get into the agriturismo place mentioned in the NYT article, but imagine it would be like the amazing meal we had outside of Spello when we stayed at Il Bastione: a lavish, home-cooked meal of local specialties.

Finally, we managed to get into the last place mentioned in the article, Li Jalantuùmene, and it was incredible. We couldn’t book into the accommodation (it was full, I think) but I’d recommend that as the perfect end (or start) the gourmet Gargano experience. I thought Mont Sant’Angelo was a very charming old town, and the meal deserved a Michelin star: the chef was so warm and personal, it actually made it the most memorable (and tasty) meal of our entire trip (Actually, I wrote about it at the time. Here’s the blog post).

So, there you go. I’d recommend three nights in Gargano, two in Pescichi and one in Mont Sant’Angelo, staying at the same places that you’ll be dining, and treating yourself three nights in a row to stunning meals. Perhaps you’ll want, as I will, to do a post-trip diet!

Mont Sant’Angelo was overcast when we visited, but I liked the vibe a lot.

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