Visiting lagoons – 1

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Lesina e Varano

Lesina and Varano are among the largest lakes in Italy and is not taken for granted when it comes to a region such as Puglia poor water. Lying west of the lake, Lesina is the starting point for a hike on this stretch of coast separated from the sea by a long string of sand dunes. It ‘s nice to walk along the shore of the lake at sunset, when the body of water glows brightest colors.

Also recommended a walk to the Acquarotta and Schiapparo channels, where it seems to make a leap in time. Here, in fact, in the past fishermen remained from October to January, while they waited for the traps, or bertovelli, to fill with prey: eels from which the lake was once rich. Not to move away from their fishing boats, men lived in the haystacks, or “pagiar”, built on the banks, and fed on roasted eels or soup with wild chicory and lettuce. Some of these are still visible on the banks although fishing is no longer what it once was. Do not miss the ride in the lagoon with traditional boats, the so-called “sandals”, while removing the silent waters provide insight into each verse or beating of the numerous colonies of water birds wings that inhabit the area.

The tour at this point can be continued with a detour to the mountain of Elio, also called Devio, on which stands the church of Santa Maria di Monte Devio, one of the few examples of Romanesque architecture in the Gargano where are preserved cycle of frescoes from the Byzantine style, dated between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. The church is a basilica with three naves with apses, and was the focal point of the city of Devia, the old house of Slavic origin located between the coastal lakes of Lesina and Varano. He was abandoned by its inhabitants in the late fourteenth century, probably because of the Saracen invasions.

Also in the territory of San Nicandro Garganico, towards the sea, you will encounter the ancient Mileto watchtower, the truncated pyramid shape and with five trapdoors at the top of the parade. The tower stands on a short peninsula, off of which the bottom is located the wreck of a marsiliana, the Poma Santa Maria, which sank in mysterious circumstances in 1607 and suspected of carrying an illegal cargo of weapons, including some cannons of them three were recovered in 1975 by the Archaeological Superintendence of Puglia, in collaboration with the Carabinieri Divers team of Taranto, and are preserved inside the tower. The current structure can be dated with certainty to the mid-sixteenth century, when the mandate of the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro of Toledo imposed the increase and strengthening of coastal garrisons and structural adjustment of the existing towers. Originally it gave access to the tower through the door on the first floor with a wooden cabinet staircase, replaced by a stone staircase built later. In the nineteenth century, in fact, when the tower was used as a weather station, basic telegraph for contacts with the Tremiti, lighthouse and home to the barracks of the Guardia di Finanza, it was raised by two levels.

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