Published on: 9 April 2013 | Last updated: 27 March 2017
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|Trani - Barletta||14 kms|
|Barletta - Manfredonia||59 kms|
|Manfredonia - Mattinata||19 kms|
This section of the route takes you from Trani the ‘city of maritime law’ (or, more prosaically, stone - depending on which road you com in on) to Margherita di Savoia - the ‘city of salt’ - and from there to Manfredonia and Mattinata on the Gargano peninsula.
The landscape changes dramatically at Manfredonia and come into the Gargano peninsula: this part of the Puglia coastline is without doubt the most dramatic and beautiful in the region - and one of the most beautiful in the whole of Italy.
Barletta is a charming city: it’s major landmark is the castle. Originally built by the Normans, it was rebuilt by the Aragonese with its stark angular construction it must have been a forbidding sight. Now it’s a park where people come for the Sunday morning passeggiata.
I took the direct option along the coast road. however, there is the option of going inland round the saltpans - there’s a stretch of several kilometres of traffic-free cycleway.
Mattinata is probably the best base for a ride to the Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo - a shrine built into a big cave where St Michael is said to have appeared in 490. This was, and is, an important place of pilgrimage in its own right as well as an important stop on the route to Jerusalem. It’s part of the Lombards in Italy UNESCO World Heritage group of sites.
Margherita di Savoia is home to Europe’s largest salt pans - and they are huge; extending for 20kms along the coastline and for up to 5 kms inland. you can see the machinery at work. despite the heavy machinery the area is also a nature reserve because of its importance as a wetland habitat for birds. the process, in case you are wondering, is that sea water is taken into the first of the lagoons and then as the water evaporates the increasingly concentrated salt solution is decanted into the adjoining basin until there is no more water and the diggers move in to scoop up the salt. The salt-pan of Margherita di Savoia - la Salina di Margherita di Savoia
The next main town along the coast is Manfredonia: today the major fishing port of Italy’s Adriatic coast. The city was besieged and sacked by the Ottoman Turks in 1620 and many of its people killed or taken as slaves. The city took over a century to recover.
Places to stay
Hotels and B&Bs
Find and book places to stay with Booking.com
Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirmation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.
I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the opportunity to let me know if there’s a problem.
Many properties offer free cancellation but it’s a good idea to check the conditions as these vary from property to property.