You are currently viewing Fancy a short hike? Try Monte Saraceno, a path with an ejoyable view of Mattinata.
Mattinata and its beach.

Fancy a short hike? Try Monte Saraceno, a path with an ejoyable view of Mattinata.

 

 

If you are in Gargano, close to Mattinata or Manfredonia, fed up with crowds on the beaches, and have some spare time, you may consider having  a nice walk to Monte Saraceno. On the way you can see the old necropolis, enjoy a beautiful view of Mattinata coast, and even get to the beach. Does it sound good for you? 

 

A blue sea, a long beach wth rows of umbreallas and behind it is greenery.
Mattinata and its beach.

How to get to Monte Saraceno?

 Monte Saraceno is in Gargano, between Manfredonia and Mattinata. To get there you need a vehicle, as there’s no chance to reach Monte Saraceno by public transport, which almost doesn’t exist in Gargano. Or rather exists but it’s bad. 

Going from Manfredonia towards Mattinata you have to pass the tunnel and right behind it, turn left into the road leading uphill. It’s an old artery connecting Mattinata with Manfredonia, nowadays rarely used by drivers. However, as it is almost empty, motorcyclists and cyclists love it. So don’t be surprised if you see racing motorbikes or cyclists driving in the middle of the road

If you want to reach Monte Saraceno from Mattinata, it is about 5 km from the town center. In this case, you have to turn right just before the tunnel. 

Monte Saraceno is not the best-known place in the world, so there are few signs to suggest you have found it. There is an info board there but you won’t read anything on it from the road.  There is no regular parking as well, so everyone parks at the start of the route.

What is Monte Saraceno and what to see there?

The name of the place derived from the Saracens who settled there around 1000 years ago. There are actually quite a few remiders of Saracens in Gargano. 

Going to Monte Saraceno you will have on your left side a view of Mattinata surrounded by greenery and on the right side old trees.  Many of them have unbelievabley twisted and strong  roots that break the rocks. There’s also  maquis shrubland on both sides. More or less on both sides. 

the roots of a big tree entwining a big stone
The roots.

 

I’ve always been there  in summer, but probaly spring is the best time to visit it, when plants are green and wild orchids bloom. 

On the way to Monte Saraceno you can see some of the prehistoric tombs, dating back over 2,500 years. There are more than 500 rock-hewn tombs, and some of them are fairly easily accessible.

Old-stone-tomb
One of the tombs.

 

If  you’re interested in archeology and nature, you will probably enjoy this place, where Daunias, an agricultural civilization lived thousands of years ago. The archaeologists’ findings from the tombs are nowadays kept in the museum.

Round-shaped-stone-ruins-of-an-old-tomb
A tomb.

 

If you go further on the path, you will get to Monte Sacro and the ruins of the Benedictine abbey of Santissima Trinità, beautifully decorated with base transceiver station. This southern neglect of monuments still amazes me. Have no idesa who allows  to put something like this in places that, with a little effort, care, and maitenance, could be pretty attractive for people visiting Gargano.

Ruins- if-old-abbey-standing-on-the-hill
Ruins of the Benedictine abbey of Santissima Trinità.

 

How to get to Mattinata beach

If you fancy more walks there is a path leading down to Mattinata Beach. Just look down near the first ruins to find it. It is trampled in the grass, and if you feel like walking in low mountains, just follow the path.

Ruins-odf-stone-house-standing-on-dry-grass-bue-sea-in-background.
The path to Mattinata beach is close to the ruins.

 

The route looks like af it ends end where there is no longer a wooden railing, but it doesn’t. The path continues down through the hilly Gargano. Is it worth going down? In my opinion yes, but I like hiking so I’m not objective. The path isn’t the best I’ve done but it’s quite ok if you want to reach the sea in a non-standard way or just have a slightly more challenging walk.

In any case, if you go further you will enjoy panoramic views of the sea and the Gargano coast. There are also other tombs hidden in the mountains that are, or rather were, reachable, but I have no idea if there is any path leading to them.

After 10-15 minutes you will reach the viewpoint from where you will see Mattinata Beach which is long and nice. Follow the path to reach the beach. It will take you to Mattinata, between the rows of houses look for the signs “spiaggia” or “lido” that will lead you to the beach.

The track is not difficult, but as usual, wearing comfy shoes is a good idea. 

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