Mattinata, Province of Foggia, Puglia
The commune includes a very wide territory (about 72 square km), and the center rises on two hills, Coppa Madonna and Castelluccio, between Monte Saraceno to the south and Monte Sacro to the north, in a valley covered of olive trees, which, together with summer tourism, are the main economic resources of the place.
- Population: ca. 6,000 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 71030
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0884
- Patron Saint: Santa Maria della Luce, celebrated on 15 September.
Follow Italy Heritage on Facebook
Situated in a territory of great beauty, with a hinterland of green terraced hills created with hundreds of years of cultivations, white rocks descending to the blue sea, and the enchanting, small stone houses of the hamlet. A great many itineraries offer unique landscapes: the Benedictine ruins on the Monte Sacro, the pre-Roman necropolis on the Monte Saraceno, the boat trips that allow to reach enchanting small bays and the many sea grottos - some of them still unexplored. And last, but not least, 61 orchid species endemic of the area, that cannot be found anywhere else.
Archeological remains on Mount Saraceno, among them a necropolis with over 500 tombs, show that the area was inhabited already in the 6th century BC, by the Dauni population. In Roman times a colony existed with the name of Matinum, and excavations have brought to life traces of a Roman port. Some unknown event, possibly an earthquake, caused the disappearance of the Roman town. For long centuries there is no information on the area, until in 1058 a Benedictine abbey on Monte Sacro appears in records. This monastery grew in importance and power until the 14th century. The present center of Mattinata rose in the late 18th century on the hill of Castelluccio at the time all covered with olive plantations. The hamlet was included in the municipality of Monte Sant'Angelo until 1955.
What to see
- The promontory of Monte Saraceno, the outmost point of the Gargano peninsula, a high cliff with a wonderful view, which received its name from the Saracen settlement during the 10th century AD, of great archeological importance for the many traces of the Iron Age.
- On Monte Sacro (874 m. a.s.l.) the ruins of an ancient Benedictine complex.
- Many beautiful grottos, among them the Campana Grotto, with the form of a huge bell, 7 km from Mattinata, with a circumference of 250 m, with all around a 4-meter-wide beach of multi-colored pebbles, rising over 50 meters on the sea level, with the walls shining like crystals to the sun rays reflected from the waters - one of the most amazing natural landscapes of the region.
- The Vignanotica Bay, a pebble beach 13 km from Mattinata, in the direction of Vieste, surrounded by many grottos, that can be reached from the sea or following a path cut through Mediterranean vegetation and Aleppo pines, also called Baia dei Gabbiani for the presence of innumerable seagulls.