Visiting lagoons – 2

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Lesina e Varano


Taking the fast road of Gargano, you can enjoy a magnificent view across the lake nestled in the green hills of olive trees around and the blue sea in the background. To enjoy it fully, we suggest a snack from Leisure Break (SS 693 km 32,950, Cagnano Varano – tel. +39 0884 853307): we have satisfied sight and palate tasting on the cool terrace a caciocavallo cheese terrine, honey and nuts along with a craft beer produced by Gargantua of San Nicandro Garganico, fresh Terrazzana with citrus.

Continuing you reach the mouth of Capojale, which connects the lake Varano with the sea. Soon after, between low mountains covered with Mediterranean scrub and olive trees that seem to embrace the lake, you arrive at the mouth of Varano. Our advice is to continue to follow the lakeshore. The road is not the best and you can deal with a little ‘ difficulty on foot or with an off-road, but what you admire enveloped by the atmosphere of the lake is priceless: many water birds, including cormorants, various species of ducks, herons, kingfishers and knights of Italy, hovering quiet among water lilies and reeds, often using the stakes for mussel farming as dormitories or to dry in the sun.
The lake, then, that will sometimes be ruffled by the “sandals” which lead fishermen to their “fields” of mussels, sea bream and eels.

On the eastern shore of Lake Varano, where the coasts are high and steep, stands the Church of the Annunziata, also called church of SS. Crucified because there is venerated a wooden crucifix dating back to 1300, which according to tradition reproduce the true likeness of Jesus on the cross. Outside the church, standing out white against the sun it seemed us almost “out of place”; it has the air of a South American church accentuated by the palm trees on the report. Inside, the famous crucifix which are attributed miracles the first of which took place on April 23, 1717, when a long drought had severely compromised the crops, and many were hungry. The farmers called on the Crucifix of Varano and, after a solemn procession, abundant and beneficial rain drank fields. As some plaques commemorate the miracle was repeated in 1899 and also in 1948. A short walk to the shores of the lake behind the church brought us to a hillside covered with olive trees among which peep fascinating caves and makes a great impression of a Crucifix statue that emerges from the water.

Since you are here, take a trip to Sante Rinaldi who will welcome you with a big smile and great hospitality in his oil mill (Frantoio Oleario Varano, loc. Chianca Varano-Ischitella, tel. +39 333 3583989 – santerinaldi@tiscali.it) which produces one of the most good local olive oils: will be proud to tell you his story, to let you see the latest machinery from which it extracts his nectar and let you taste with a lot of technical and detailed explanations.

If at this point you got hungry the deviation is to the long beach of sand that separates fresh water from salt water. Here to Terrazze sul Mare (Viale Uria, Foce Varano – Ischitella , tel. +39 0884 917547 – +39 347 4811302 – info@terrazzesulmare.it) in a cool and pleasant place, you can enjoy exquisite troccoli seafood and lupins, as well as they are in the area called the small local clams.

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