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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.