The Tremiti Islands: A Hidden Gem in the Adriatic Sea

The Tremiti Islandsare an archipelago located in the Adriatic Sea, 12 nautical miles north of the Gargano Promontory. The entire area of the Tremiti Islands is a protected natural marine reserve.

Islands and Beaches

The archipelago is composed of four islands: San Domino, San Nicola, Capraia, and Pianosa. San Domino is the largest island and has a beautiful coastline with the main tourist facilities, including the only sandy beach in the archipelago (Cala delle Arene). San Nicola is the main landing point where you can find the main monuments of the archipelago. Capraia (also called Caprara or Capperaia) is uninhabited but offers charming coves. Pianosa is also completely uninhabited and is a rocky plateau located about twenty kilometers from the other islands. There are also the Scogli di Cretaccio and La Vecchia where legend has it that before every storm, the ghost of an old woman (hence the name of the rock) appears, intent on spinning.

The Tremiti Islands have been awarded the Blue Flag for the quality of their sea, which presents unique features. The coast, with suggestive rocks like Pagliai or the Elephant rock, is worth exploring. To move between the islands and visit the coast, you can participate in a boat tour.

History and Monuments

On the island of San Nicola, you can find the Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare, built in 1045, which preserves wonderful fragments of Romanesque-Byzantine mosaic: the painted cross of over three meters in height, perhaps made in Tuscany in the 13th century, and the Badiali Castle adjacent to the church. The islands are also called Diomedee Islands, as according to legend, Diomedes created them. The heroic warrior of the Iliad first created the Subappennino and the Gargano with two enormous stones from the destroyed fortress of Pergamum. Then, having more stones in his hands, he threw them into the sea, forming the Tremiti Islands.

The Tremiti Islands are the northernmost point of Puglia and fall within the Gargano National Park. Due to their singular history, the population of the Tremiti Islands speaks in the Neapolitan dialect.

In 1783, Ferdinand IV of Naples established a penal colony on the islands, of which the remains can still be admired today, bringing guards and convicts from the capital of the Kingdom. In 1843, Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies decided to repopulate the islands by sending fishermen from Ischia (an island near Naples),  who were experts in navigation and maritime work.

The history of confinement to the Tremiti Islands continued even in the 20th century. In 1911, about 1,300 Libyans who opposed Italian colonial occupation were confined to the Tremiti Islands, while during the fascist period, numerous political opponents, including the future President of the Republic Sandro Pertini, were also sent to the islands

How to Enjoy the Sea

The best way to enjoy the crystal-clear waters is probably to rent a boat and explore this marine paradise autonomously. The beaches are very small and often crowded, and not always easily accessible on foot. On the island of San Domino, you can find Cala delle Arene, a sandy beach, and Cala Matano, not far from Pagliai, the stacks located in the strait between the island of Il Cretaccio and that of San Domino.

Getting to the Tremiti Islands

The Tremiti Islands can be reached from various locations on the Puglian coast, such as Vieste, Rodi Garganico, Peschici, and Manfredonia, by ferries that depart during spring and summer. The travel time varies from two to three hours depending on the departure location. Alternatively, the Tremiti Islands can be reached from Termoli all year round, with a travel time of about an hour and a half. Once on the islands, you can move between them with local ferries or rent a boat to explore the archipelago independently.
You can purchase tickets for the Tremiti Islands directly from this website.

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