The Gargano is a territory rich in enchanting places, one of these is the Varano Lake, which rises a few kilometers from the city of Vieste.
The lake extends for about ten kilometers and plays a very important role for the local economy, once essentially linked to fishing, but today more interconnected with tourism, a sector that enhances its natural riches and knows how to enhance, in the eyes of visitors , its panoramic views.
A great feature of the lake is certainly the northern side divided from the Adriatic sea only by a very thin strip of land 10 kilometers long. A reason of great interest for the entire territory is the state nature reserve of the Varano Island created in 1977 and now belonging to the Gargano National Park, the green lung of northern Puglia. The great biodiversity of the place has made it famous to scholars and onlookers from all over Europe.
Flamingos, kingfishers, cormorants, herons, snipe, coots, tufted duck and grebes are just some of the species that have found their ideal habitat in this lake over the decades.
The lake extends on the northern side of the Gargano and its waters bathe the towns of Varano, Carpino and Ischitella. The three municipalities boast historic villages in which to get lost in traditions, customs, flavors and aromas typical of the area.
The town of Cagnano Varano is a small village with seven thousand inhabitants and stands on a hill from which it is possible to admire the lake in all its beauty.
The church of Santa Maria della Pietà built between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries retains its historical charm, while the convent of San Francesco built in the thirteenth is today remembered as a meeting place for all believers who went to the Grotta di San Michele ( one of the places dearest to the faithful for the legendary apparitions of St. Michael the Archangel).
Another fundamental stop for those who decide to go into the discovery of the beauties of Lake Varano is Ischitella, a center characterized by white houses, low and narrow streets. Here you can visit the convent of San Francesco, the church of Sant’Eustacchio, the splendid church of SS. Annunziata, the castle and the de Cata palace. Lovers of culinary tradition and entertainment cannot fail to pass by Carpino, a small town of over four thousand inhabitants, famous for the production of oil and above all for the Carpino Folk festival, an event that features popular music, locals and many tourists from all over the world.