Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Gargano Peninsula in Puglia Italy

The Gargano Promontory is in the Foggia province of Apulia. Also referred to as the spur of Italy’s boot, it is along the Adriatic Sea and includes Monte Calvo - 1,065 m 3,494 feet - and the Gargano National Park. This peninsula is partly covered with a beech and oak forest that once blanketed much of Central Europe. The poet Horace mentions the oaks as Garganus in Ode II,ix.

The Gargano National Park is one of the few national protected areas efficiently contributing to the "a Forest for Kyoto", which has involved several schools in the realization of projects for social and responsible tourism. It is also unique for renowned for fire reductions and its environmental awareness program.
Monte Sant’Angelo’s medieval quarter is characterized by terraced houses, traces of its Longobard period and the Sanctuary with the cult of the Archangel Michael who, according to tradition, appeared in a grotto. Also, the Norman Castle, the historic center and St’ Michael’s Basilica.
Art Cities and Medieval Castles in Puglia

The Coastline features several beaches, resorts and historic small town, including:
Vieste receives blue flag awards for the quality of its waters. During mediaeval times, its port was frequently attacked by pirates, Saracens and other enemies of the Kingdom of Naples. In 1554 around 5,000 inhabitants were executed by the Turks; they were considered too elderly or infirm for transport into slavery, an event is commemorated every year. The eastern coast around Vieste features numerous coastal watch towers.
Mattinata is the only town in Apulia facing south on the Adriatic Coast. The main urban area is located on two hills enclosed by mountains on the northern, western and southern sides; eastward, there is a valley facing the Adriatic Sea. The northern coast is known for its chalky white cliffs, its large number of suggestive sea grottos and, above all, for its two Faraglioni stacks, located in the Zagare Bay area. The area is also a popular destination for botanical experts, due to the existence of around 60 different species of orchids.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Chesapeake Bay and the Maryland Eastern Shore

history geology hydrology fishing and the environment
Chesapeake Bay is an estuary and the largest such body in the contiguous United States and is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of the Middle Atlantic Region. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the bay's 64,299-square-mile - 166,534 km2 covering parts of six states.
History in 1524, Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed past the Chesapeake, but did not enter the bay. Spanish explorers may have been the first Europeans to explore parts of the bay which they named Bay of the Mother of God. In the late 16th century the British founded a colony and Captain John Smith explored and mapped it between 1607 and 1609. The first designated all-water National Historic Trail was created in 2006 following Smith's historic 17th century voyage.

The Eastern Shore is home to crabbers, oystermen, gentlemen-farmers and sharecroppers, boat builders and antiques dealers. Activities include fishing, crabbing, swimming, boating, kayaking and sailing. 

Geology and Hydrology the bay was formed starting about 10,000 years ago when rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age flooded the Susquehanna River valley.  Much of the bay is shallow; it is approximately 200 miles - 320 km - long and 2.8 miles  - 4.5 km - wide at its narrowest and 30 miles - 48 km - at its widest point. Average depth is 21 feet - 6.4 m. Because the bay is an estuary, it has fresh water, salt water and brackish water.

Fishing once employed up to nine thousand watermen and their skipjacks, the only remaining sailing workboats in US waters, engaged in the seafood production of blue crabs, clams and oysters. Now, runoffs from farms and urban areas, over-harvesting and foreign species invasions have made the bay less productive. Oyster farming helps maintain the estuary's productivity and is a natural effort for filtering impurities and reduce the amount of nitrogen compounds entering Chesapeake Bay.

Environment in the 1970s, Chesapeake Bay was discovered to contain marine dead zones - waters depleted of oxygen and unable to support life – that weaken the base of the estuary and its food source. The runoff and pollution have many components that help contribute to the algal bloom which is mainly fed by phosphorus and nitrogen. This algae prevents sunlight from reaching the bottom of the bay while alive and deoxygenates the bay's water when it dies and rots. Also, the overharvesting of oysters has made it difficult for them to reproduce, which requires close proximity to one another. The depletion of oysters has had a particularly harmful effect on the quality of the bay as they serve as natural water filters, and their decline has further reduced the water quality of the bay.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Art Cities and Food Traditions in Puglia Italy

Apulia (Puglia) is located in southern Italy; it borders the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southernmost portion, the Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the boot of Italy.


Art Cities
Lecce is known as the Baroque city and the Florence of the south because of its magnificent architecture constructed with the famed Lecce Stone. Itinerary: Porta Napoli; Piazza del Duomo Cathedral and Belfry, Episcopio and Seminary Palace; Sant’Irene Church; Piazza Sant’Oronzo and Amphitheater, Sedile, Chiesa di San Marco Church and Sant’Oronzo Column; Santa Croce Basilica; Celestini Convent.
Barletta once a fortress, the Barletta’s castle was once surrounded by the sea. The historic center visit includes: Santa Maria Maggiore Cathedral; Eraclio’s Colossus, Santo Sepolcro Basilica and large bronze statue; Marra Palace, the Orsini family residence; Porta Marina, a unique example of a city wall gate; Cantina della disfida, the legendary battle between Italian soldiers of fortune led by Ettore Fieramosca and the French Army.

Trani the castle is the best preserved and most important among those erected by Frederic II. The Cathedral of San Nicola, the queen of cathedrals in Apulia, was built along the seashore, as was the castle, with a Latin cross layout, is divided into three naves and twin columns, a unique feature among the region’s Romanesque churches. The historic center itinerary included a visit to the Jewish quarter and two ancient synagogues.

Lucera this ancient town boasts one of the largest historic centers in Italy which holds the Cathedral of the Assumption, built on the foundations of an ancient mosque. Trani’s highest hill contains the Roman acropolis and a Swabian-Angevin fortress; the latter is a major archeological that features neolithic huts, Roman ruins and from a Frederic II palace as well as the remnants of the medieval era Church of St Francis. Finally, the Roman Amphitheater, Apulia’s most important Roman era structure.

Bari the most important city on the Adriatic Sea presents a medieval historic center that contains the city’s most important monuments, folkloristic features and the imposing San Nicola Cathedral.

Altamura is characterized by a series of cloisters, including a Jewish one. Its religious history is quite unique in that for seven centuries, beginning with the Frederic II era, Altamura’s bishops were appointed  by the prevailing secular powers; the Lateran Pact of 1929, governing relations between the Italian State and the Vatican, returned this specific power to the papacy. A major attraction is a visit to 15th Century stone oven that produces the classic Altamura bread and the Apulian focaccia.


Taranto can be defined as 2700 years of history on an island-historic center between two bodies of water, the Mar Piccolo and the Mar Grande. This unique setting contains a Greek acropolis, Roman and Renaissance architecture and baroque residences. Among Taranto’s principal mounuments: the Aragonese Castle, the Doric Temple’s column, S. Cataldo Cathedral and the Convent of San Domenico.


Castel Del Monte Frederic II’s octagonal structure is unique in form and function. The form presents architectural considerations as well as still mostly unexplained symbolisms. An exterior and interior tour focus on the times when the castle was built as well the history of the emperor who commissioned it.

Alberobello the Trulli trace their origin to a 15th Century edict by the Kingdom of Naples requiring tribute for every new settlement. Alberobello’s owners, the Counts of Conversano, instructed their subject to build temporary structures, not subject to any form of taxation. Furthermore, these stone structures required self-supporting domes as rooftops, made of superimposed circles of stones; hence the peculiar cusp shape.

Monte Sant’Angelo is located in Apulia’s Gargano promontory. The medieval quarter is characterized by terraced houses, traces of its Longobard period and the Sanctuary with the cult of the Archangel Michael who, according to tradition, appeared in a grotto. Also, the Norman Castle, the historic center and St’ Michael’s Basilica.
Otranto situated on Salento’s Adriatic Coast, is Italy’s easternmost town. With Messapi, Roman, Byzantine and Aragonese roots, it developed around its imposing castle and Norman Cathedral. Additional points of interest: the defensive walls and gate, the historic center, s. Peter’s Church, the Cathedral with Martyrs’ Chapel, vault and floor mosaics.
Archeological Museums

Egnazia Museum and Park is located between an olive grove and the sea. Partially excavated, it contains mostly Roman era finds: Via Traiana, Civil Basilica, oriental divinity shrine, an amphitheater and a colonnaded square. The museum is divided into 7 areas that illustrate the town’s history from bronze era huts to the medieval period that ended in the 13th Century, when Egnazia was abandoned by its population.

The Bisceglie Dolmen is Italy’s most recognized prehistoric monument. It consists of a two meter high quadrangular cell made of three vertical stone slabs that hold a larger fourth slab acting as a roof. The left slab has two openings, probably for the flow the sacrificial victims’ blood. The cell has an external corridor – dromos - with small stone slabs. Among the cell’s finds: charred animal bones, human skeletons, various plates and utensils.

Taranto Archeological Museum the MARTA collections lead to a complete picture of the city’s ancient history. Emphasis is on Greek Taranto’s funeral culture and the finds uncovered in the city’s necropolis and Greek society: theater, games, symposia and artistic expressions. Also, a review of the Roman era as illustrated by the museum’s mosaic floors.

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