One of the (many) things I love about Italy is that its beach destinations are cultural destinations as well. The Tremiti islands are no exception – offering history, nature, sunshine and sparkling blue waters, all within a national marine park .
San Nicola Island is the historic, religious and administrative center of the archipelago. It is here that the spectacular abbey-fortress was built, in the 14th century and expanded upon during its golden age in the 16th century.
This island serves as the port for the archipelago and arrival by sea to San Nicola is dramatic, as its imposing fortress looms into view. In 1567, tiny San Nicola even managed to thwart an Ottoman attack on the island.
The island fortress passed to the Bourbons in 1737 and eventually became a penal colony.
Taxi boats ferry visitor to the neighboring San Domino island. San Domino is much larger (2600 meters long and 1100 meters wide) and lusher. The island is covered with beautiful Aleppo pine trees. Its rocky coastline is dotted with dramatic grottoes and beaches, some of which can be reached by steep paths and others only by boat.
The island has one sandy beach, located just opposite San Nicola island, with stunning views over the abbey-fortress from the crystal-clear waters. I loved it here, especially swimming in these waters with the backdrop of the 14th century fortress just beyond. All hotels and tourist facilities are located on San Domino.
The uninhabited islands of Capraia and Cretaccio complete the archipelago.
The Tremiti islands can be reached by boat from the Gargano peninsula, including Vieste , or from Termoli, in Molise. There is also a helicopter connection from Foggia.