Founded in 1256 by Manfred (king of Sicily), Manfredonia is the biggest city in the Gargano. Its port (also called Porto Vecchio o commerciale) is situated not far from the city centre. Its 700 berths, 400 parking spaces, 20 commercial activities and 1400 meters of pathways to be explored, always permit you to be close to the sea, thanks to mild weather even during the low season.
Furthermore, the city is an important meeting point not only for the facilities on offer, but also for its geographic position. It’s no surprise that you can find masterpieces of nature like Peschici, Vieste and Mattinata in the vicinity, which can be reached both by car and boat. Albeit a certain distance away, Croatia is another place reachable by boat; 113 nautical miles away, it has ten sites which are featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Are you dreaming about visiting this Gargano paradise? Here are some itineraries that may work for you:
In Manfredonia (and its provinces), there are several museums and archaeological sites. Let’s discover them together:
Castle and National Archaeological Museum
The Suevian-Angevin Castle was built in the 13th century to protect the city. You can find the National Archaeological Museum inside, with exhibits that show the history of the ancient territory of Siponto and Gargano.
Entry is on the side of Viale Miramare; currently, you can only visit the “La terra del straniero” expository room, which is situated on the ground floor of the castle.
The visit lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes, and you can book via the ioPrenoto app (https://ioprenotoapp.com/comefunziona) during the following time slots:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 9:30 – 11:00 – 12:30;
Friday, Saturday: 14:30 – 16:30 – 18:00.
Established in 2016, it is situated in the Archiepiscopal Episcope, and aims to retrace the most significant moments of the past. Indeed, we can find many sections inside, among which there are paintings, sculptures, gold working, manuscripts and metals (with finds such as cast bronze, bells etc.).
Historical Museum of Firefighters and the Italian Red Cross
Spread over an area of more than 2500 square meters, the Museum starts with an exposition of 80 uniforms of Italian Firefighters and the Italian Red Cross, dating back to the first half of the 19th century up to the end of the 20th.
It is composed of four different pavilions: each one is dedicated to a piece of the history of these Security Forces, and in these you can admire medals and other types of finds, many of which are unique in the world.
You can also visit it with your four-legged friend on weekdays from 9-12:30 and 15:30-17:30 time slots. On the other hand, on non-working days you can only have access to it via booking and in groups of a minimum of 6 people.
The Hypogeums of Siponto are caverns hallowed from the sea and partially formed by man. They werea necropolis up to the 13th century, when Siponto was abandoned in order to found Manfredonia.
The Scoppa, Capparelli, Santa Maria Regina and Minonno hypogeums are all composed of 1 to 4 vestibules, which are divided by big rock pillars.
Ethnographic Museum (Siponto)
Moving just a little further on, in Siponto we can find several archaeological sites, including the Ethnographic Museum. There is an exhibit of objects regarding the life and culture of the land of Siponto, but also a collection of texts (stories, folk songs etc.) to get to know the dialect of the zone.
Admission is free, but unfortunately tourists complain about the fact that it is often closed.
Archaeological Park (Siponto)
On the inside, we can find the remains of the Paleochristian church, and the many finds show the city’s history. The winter timetable has come into force since October 1st, which is why you can visit it for free and take advantage of guided tours from Wednesday to Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm, by booking on the ioPrenoto app.
San Leonardo in Lama Volara Abbey (Siponto)
Located ten kilometres from Manfredonia, it is another important archaeological site of the area, dedicated to Saint Leonard of Noblac. Founded at the beginning of the 12th century (although the exact date is not known), during World War II it was subjected to a fair amount of damage. It was repaired during the period which immediately followed by Don Silvestro Mastrobuoni, who opened it to the public and become
You’re not a museum type or perhaps you are already thinking about Christmas gifts? Then choose the Gargano Shopping Centre. It is situated on the slopes of Monte Sant’Angelo, with a westward panoramic view of the Tavoliere and of the Manfredonia Gulf to the south. With its 25 stores, from clothing to electronics, it is the perfect place to satisfy every need.
Food and beverage itinerary
The beauty of Manfredonia is also noticeable on its plates, and there are many typical culinary offerings from this area. An example is the “Spazzina” sandwich: it is a gourmet speciality with bacon, tomatoes, mozzarella, ketchup and mayonnaise. Another typical product is farrata, which is a spelt-based puff pastry with ricotta. In the past, it was also called “dessert of the brides” and it was a typical Carnival dish; while nowadays you can taste it all year round.
Taralli (also called scaldatelli here) are another famous food, not only in Manfredonia but in the whole of the Capitanata. Their form is bigger compared to typical taralli, and you can also try them in a longer shape. You can try them anywhere, including at Panificio Pappantonio, which produces them following the ancient tradition of the Gargano.
On the other hand, among the typical desserts (also called ciangularie), we can find ostia chiène; stuffed wafers with almonds and honey.
After four years of closure, the Fish Market has opened again. Here you can buy the best-quality fresh fish from local fishing and the other best seaside towns. Thanks to its new organisation and the high-tech use of control and management tools, it is considered one of the most modern markets.
Despite restrictions due to the pandemic, the best place for nightlife is Flamingo, a restaurant specialised in sea dishes which overlooks the port. Furthermore, if you’re looking for restaurants to spend a nice evening at, the top three places on Trip Advisor are Moody, Bruciato Braceria and Le Querce di Mamre.
On the other hand, if you want to opt for an aperitif or visit a pub, we suggest Club 1920, John Pull Pub and Dubliners Irish Pub, an Irish-style pub that offers a wide selection of beers.
What if you’re just passing by? Then it’s better to start your day at Caffè Incontro 2, a coffee shop close to the Diocesano Museum and the San Lorenzo Maiorano Cathedral.
Last but not least, Manfredonia is also connected to the world of music. Indeed, not everyone knows that the Manfredonia port and the nearby piazza Diomede are on the cover of Lucio Dalla‘s 4/3/1943 vinyl record, with an arrow indicating the palace in which the singer stayed during summers with his mother (a seamstress of Apulian origin). The special bond between Dalla and the Gargano is well-known by now, with the city of Manfredonia paying the singer homage by making him an honorary citizen in 1997.
To conclude the information about this city, please note that SITA and “Saps Bus Line” bus lines are also available if you want to reach Manfredonia. However, it is recommended that you visit the city on foot, and you can also use trains to move to nearby places.