...a town with an ancient heart, Vico del Gargano (Fg) stands in a privileged position in the Montagna del Sole (ancient name for the Gargano), at an altitude of 445 meters, on a rocky promontory between the sea (it is 6 km away), with San Menaio and Calenella, and the Umbra Forest (it is 10 km away).
It is one of nine municipalities in Puglia that bear the label "I Borghi più Belli d'Italia." Its fine hilly air tempers the summer heat and softens the winter cold. It is an ancient town that arose on prehistoric settlements. It owes its name to the Schiavoni called by Otto I around 900 AD. Vico enchants visitors with its historic center, implanted on the three main cores of Civita, Terra and Casale.
Its past is dense with prehistoric evidence (the necropolises of Monte Tabor and Monte Pucci are of considerable interest). The Norman-Swabian era markedly marked the development of Vico del Gargano. Evidence of that era is a castle, probably built by the men of Frederick II of Swabia around 1240, and the city walls, which also include watchtowers and some small churches. The historic center is divided into narrow streets, old "a pujedd" houses (terraced with an outside staircase, with dwellings on the upper floor and a crawl space used as a stable or store), the remains of the walls and towers.
The "Trappeto Maratea," an ancient olive press that preserves a wooden press from 1317, is worth a special visit. Palazzo Della Bella, a curious early 20th-century building inspired by the 14th-century model of the Florentine Palazzo Vecchio, completes the walk through Vico's historic center. Just outside the town is the striking Capuchin Convent with a centuries-old holm oak (17 meters high by 5 meters in diameter) and, inside, a miraculous Crucifix as well as paintings by Vaccaro and Borghese.
The Convent of Santa Maria Pura, also outside the town, is a monumental complex of great value that, it is believed, even rests on much older structures, perhaps the Temple of Chalcis.
In 1618 St. Valentine was acclaimed Patron Saint of the city and its orange gardens. The Saint's relics are located in the Collegiate Church of the Assumption and are carried in procession on February 14.
Lovers in the surrounding area on that day taste the juice of blessed oranges as a propitious love potion and exchange sweet effusions in the Vicolo del Bacio, a narrow street in the old town only 50 centimeters wide.
Every year on Feb. 14, the feast of lovers, Vico del Gargano dresses up with original ornaments. The Chiesa Matrice, the alleys and small squares of the historic center, and private homes are decorated with bright, fragrant oranges.
Legend has it that by eating the oranges of Vico del Gargano or drinking their juice, one has a great chance of crowning one's dream of love. The entire historic center is engirdled with oranges starting with the "Vicolo del Bacio," a narrow and picturesque narrow street symbolic of the "Land of St. Valentine."
Out-of-towners who opt for a weekend among the sea, Aleppo pines and the Umbra Forest, heart of the Gargano National Park, will find cultural and religious events in honor of the Saint of the Lovers. On the morning of Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. takes place the solemn procession of St. Valentine, Patron Saint of Vico del Gargano and Protector of orange groves.
At 3 p.m. from the alleys of the old town to Piazza Fuoriporta "Sagra dell'Arancia e dei suoi derivati," an exhibition of typical products and tastings. During Valentines Week Feb. 8/15 other important cultural events crown Valentine's Day.
National Art Review "Valentine's Award," Valentine's Fair, concerts: choral and instrumental; young and old in search of serenity, Vico del Gargano awaits.
The pretty Gargano town becomes your Cupid for a day, providing the arrows, you aim the target.
Old Town, Castle, Chiesa Matrice, Misericordia Church,
Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and the Church of San Pietro, The Umbra Forest, San Menaio.