The Tremiti Islands

This is an excerpt from the book “Apulia”.

San Domino – Tremiti Islands

Tremiti (Italian: Isole Tremiti) is an archipelago of the Adriatic Sea, north of the Gargano Peninsula. The Tremiti Islands form part of the Gargano national park (Parco nazionale del Gargano); the name of the islands is linked to their increased seismic hazard, with a history of earthquakes – the source word tremolanti is linked to tremors.

The islands were used for the internment of political prisoners during Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime. This was not exactly a novelty: two millennia earlier Augustus had sent his granddaughter Julia the Younger in exile to one of these islands (then named Trimerus). The islands are now an important tourist attraction – due to the clear waters surrounding them.

The sea depths are very important, thanks to the clearness of the water, it is possible to see in a few meters depth, colored sponges, colorful fan-shaped annelids, sea urchins and starfishes. At a higher depth, it is easy to admire blooming multicolored sea fans close to groupers, morays, conger-eels, crawfishes. The Tremiti sea depths offer one of the most exciting diving into the Mediterranean sea.

San Domino is the most touristic developed island and features the only sand beach in the archipelago.
This is the biggest of the Tremiti Islands although it has a surface of only 0.81 sq.miles. It is also the best organized from the touristic point of view, It is the only island where there is a wide selection of accommodation alternatives. San Domino has many grottos and is covered by a vegetation emitting a scent of pines and orange blossom that is worth the name given to San Domino: “the green pearl of the Adriatic Sea”.Plants in full bloom are a very common and characteristic peculiarity of the pine-wood situated in the south-western part of the island where you can see myrtles, geraniums and Indian figs. San Domino is also the kingdom of cicadas and birds such as the Diomedeas which produce a peculiar moan at night.The legend says that the Diomedeas are the soldiers of Homer’s hero Diomede who were transformed into birds by Venus and forced to watch over the islands that had been chosen as the home of the warrior. In addition to its nature, the island also has an ancient history (as the numerous remains found confirm).

San Domino has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium B.C. and was subsequently visited by the Greeks and Romans. In the year 1000 it was chosen as a hermitage by the Benedictine monks who later left the island and settled in San Nicola.All the hotels of the Tremiti Islands are on San Domino. The connections with the main-land are excellent: those with a limited time can use the all-year-round helicopter service from Foggia.

San Nicola

San Nicola is the island where the major part of the population resides. It is the site of a monastery where a monk named Nicolo’ was buried. The legend says that every time someone tried to move his corpse off the island, a violent storm would start, preventing navigation around the island.

In 1045 on the San Nicola Island, historical, religious and administrative center of the Tremiti Islands, the Benedictine monks of Montecassino built the Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare. It was fortified by Charles of Anjou and in 1300 it suffered the attack of the pirates. They destroyed the fortress and killed the monks. The Abbey of Santa Maria is a beautiful harmony of Byzantine and Romanesque art in the typical style of Benedictines and Cistercians.

  • Capraia (or Capperaia) is deserted, it forms part of the national park.
  • Cretaccio is in fact, a major block of clay, and thus uninhabited.
  • Pianosa is a small uninhabited island. Its maximum height is 15 meters. Sometimes, during storms, the waves are able to cover it.

Tremiti Islands accommodations | How to get there (in Italian)

Where to stay in San Domino

There are hotels, boats, villas and guesthouses available, check it out and make a reservation here.