If you are looking for wild flowers in Puglia, then the Gargano is your destination. The Gargano is known to be one of the top sites in the world for wild flowers. For those uncertain about the location of the Gargano, it is situated at the spur that sticks out from the Italian boot. Once upon a time, it was an island and so there are several species of plants and animals that are special and only found there. The Gargano Peninsula is covered by the ancient forest of oak and beech that once covered much of Central Europe.
Today, it is a well-known tourist destination where visitors flock to the lovely beaches and seaside resorts on the southern coast. It is a place of great religious significance as well and is home to the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to St. Michael, Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano.
For those interested in wildlife, and wildflowers in particular, it is the area designated as a National Park in 1991 that will hold the most interest. One of the things that makes the Gargano so special is that you can find thousands of flowers of the same species growing on the same patch of land.
The National Park, Gargano.
The Gargano National Park covers an area of about 120,000 hectares. Over 2,000 species of plants call Gargano home and this includes the highest concentration of orchids in Europe. It is really hard to find orchids in many places however, in Gargano, orchids are plentiful. One of the most fascinating orchids there is the Ophrys species (bee orchids). There are a lot of them and the hybrids between various species are a source of immense fascination. There are also many other alternatives. Some of them are:
- The giant orchids (himantoglossum robertanium)
- The lady orchids (Orchis purpurea)
- The man orchids ( Orchis anthropophora)
- Sparse flowered orchid (Orchis pauciflora)
Sights of species such as these are quite common place in the Gargano National Park.
An ideal time to visit Gargano would be mid-to-late April or early May, and it would be best to visit both the north and the south of the area. While, many of the flowers can be seen within a stone throw distance from the hotels, it would be a great idea to hire a car to make excursions into the forested and the less-populated parts.
Some great places to visit in order to see more of the wildflowers and wild orchids are Monte Sacro in the north and and Bosco di Spinapulci in the south.
Seeing the wildflowers of Puglia may be a fun idea, especially if you are a fan of flowers and nature and looking for something different.