Nestled on the northern tip of Gargano in Puglia, Peschici, a captivating seaside village, attracts visitors with its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and a true Mediterranean spirit.
Peschici, possibly named after the term “peschereccio”, that means fishing vessel, is perched atop a rocky promontory overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Its history, dating back to prehistoric times, witnessed the passage of numerous civilizations, from the Greeks to the Romans, and even Saracen pirate raids. Over the centuries, Peschici has been a melting pot of cultures, as reflected in its architecture and traditions.
The history and foundation of Peschici
Peschici, a picturesque village in Gargano, has fascinating and mysterious origins. Tradition holds it was founded in 970 by Sueripolo, a Slavic commander, under the direction of the monks from the Tremiti Islands. This initial nucleus was later enriched by the presence of Slavs and Dalmatians, summoned by Emperor Otto to defend the coast from the Saracens.
Peschici‘s history is etched in its formidable defensive towers and the medieval castle, with the Rocca Imperiale rebuilt in 1600 and later restored. The network of narrow streets unfolds around the Cathedral of Sant’Elia, an architectural gem dating back to the 13th century, enhanced in the 16th century with artworks from the Neapolitan school of the 17th century, including a piece by Pacecco De Rosa.
Peschici‘s history is also intertwined with that of the ancient Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria di Calena, founded in 872 by Louis II, Emperor of the West. This monastery, steeped in history and legend, stands amidst a sea of olive trees on the road to Vieste.
The old town of Peschici
The beating heart of Peschici is its old town, enclosed within medieval walls dotted with still-visible towers. The entrance to the village, through the arch with tower known as “Porta del Ponte”, harkens back to the drawbridge that once sealed the town. This labyrinth of narrow streets, stunning viewpoints, and white houses with domed and sloping roofs, represents a journey through time, embodying various historical epochs and dominations that have shaped Peschici.
The Castle of Peschici
Once the abode of the monks from the Tremiti Abbey, the Castle of Peschici symbolizes the area’s ancient military and religious power. Built by the Normans between the 10th and 11th centuries, it was fortified and beautified over the centuries, including during Frederick II‘s reign with the addition of the “Rocca Imperiale”. The castle was further reinforced during the Spanish viceroyalty to fend off Turkish raids. Today, the Castle of Peschici is a historic site open to the public, offering breathtaking views over the sea and the Tremiti Islands.
The Coastal Towers of Peschici
Peschici is ringed by coastal towers, built to defend the land from enemy attacks:
- Monte Pucci Tower (16th century): Overlooking the Calenella and Padula plains, it offers a unique panoramic view.
- Calalunga Tower (16th century): Located east of Peschici, it was rebuilt after being demolished by the Turks in 1570.
- Usmai Tower (16th century): Positioned on a small promontory in the east of Peschici, it stands out with its square, truncated pyramidal shape.
- Sfinale Tower (16th century): Situated northwest, it marks the end of the bay, now sadly reduced to ruins.
Staying in Peschici: Hotel Paglianza
Hotel Paglianza, nestled between Peschici and Vieste, is an ideal choice for those seeking a relaxing and explorative stay in the heart of Gargano. This hotel shines for several features that make it particularly suited for families and animal lovers.
A highlight of Hotel Paglianza is its private beach. Located in the beautiful Baia di Manacore, the hotel provides its guests an exclusive fine sandy enclave, accessible through a path in the pine forest. This secluded spot allows for moments of peace and tranquility, enjoying picturesque sunrises and sunsets.
Family-friendly, Hotel Paglianza offers free stays for children and a variety of animation activities for all ages. This makes the hotel a perfect destination for family holidays, where both adults and kids can find entertainment and relaxation. Additionally, the hotel is pet-friendly, warmly welcoming four-legged friends.
For those seeking a wellness experience, the hotel has a private and intimate wellness center. This space offers a soothing and calm atmosphere, ideal for rejuvenation and self-care.
The all-inclusive offering at Hotel Paglianza ensures a carefree stay, with services including dining, an open bar, a pool with a solarium, Wi-Fi, internal parking, and much more. The hotel’s rooms are spacious and comfortable, equipped with all the amenities a guest could need.
Peschici, with its historical richness, coastal towers, castle, and characteristic old town, offers a fascinating journey through the history and culture of Gargano. A place where the past intertwines with natural beauty, leaving visitors with unforgettable memories. Choose Hotel Paglianza to immerse yourself in the magic of this land.