Located on the 'spur' of Italy's heel, on the scenic Gargano
Peninsula, the attractive town of Vieste is part of a large
national park, brimming with pine forests and lined with long sandy
beaches. Vieste boasts a well-preserved historic centre, which
details its turbulent medieval history. The 13th century castle,
although closed to the public, dominates Vieste's skyline and can
be seen rising almost vertically from the sea. Frederic II built
this in 1240, designed as both his royal seat and as a defence
against the frequent pirate raids on the town. The castle also
played a vital role in minimising damage to Vieste during the
Ottoman Empire's invasion of 1480.
Other highlights in Vieste include the mighty
Cathedral of the Assunta. Dating back to the 11th century, it is
one of the oldest Romanesque churches in all of Puglia.
Having had a quiet, stable existence since the late Middle
Ages, Vieste has flourished and expanded - and now its charming
houses stretch out along two promontories jutting into the clear
blue waters of the Adriatic. As Vieste is surrounded by delightful
fertile landscapes including an array of olive groves, until
relatively recently the town's main resources were agriculture and
fishing - though nowadays the town's beautiful setting is an allure
for many tourists from all over the world.