La Salata Necropolis

The most important cemetery complex of the Gargano is that of the Necropolis La Salata, which is located a few steps from the sea of Vieste, near the last stretch of the Scialmarino beach. Hidden by a stream coming from a natural cavity, on the walls of which some tombs have been dug, the "the salty” develops on a cave with a cliff about 30 meters high. In the central one the niches, of different sizes, are scattered everywhere, even in the most recessed ravines and at considerable heights. The small ones had to welcome the ashes of the cremated deceased. On the left wall there are some arcosolia surrounded by well-ordered tombs, while on the right wall there are two superimposed complexes. In each of them you can see in an ordered way arcosolia, earthen and parietal tombs. The upper one is accessed via a narrow staircase carved into the rock itself. The Christian burials, unlike the Daunian ones with rich grave goods and the corpse placed in a fetal position, were poor (only votive lamps with Christian symbols) and with the corpse lying down. The tombs, all studied during past archaeological campaigns, were sealed with terracotta slabs, like the Roman catacombs. Archaeologists have defined this necropolis as the most majestic and suggestive of its kind in the entire Mediterranean basin. It is the oldest evidence of the arrival of Christianity on the Gargano and in Vieste. During the diffusion of Christianity there is no news of persecutions either in Vieste or on the whole Gargano: it must be hypothesized that the new religion was tolerated by the proponents of paganism. The new religion, in fact, penetrated, even if not rapidly, in all the towns of the coastal strip and in the centers of major commercial traffic, scattered along the major communication routes and in those leading to Rome. Paganism flourished well into the XNUMXth century. "La Salata" in addition to having the archaeological importance described, also has remarkable characteristics from a geological, botanical and faunal point of view. Throughout the area, in fact, two streams of karst origin flow.

necropolis la salata

In reality, they represent the terminal part of a long underground path of rainwater which, after being swallowed on the surface, crosses an underground territory characterized above all by limestone formations with fossil remains of nummulites, until it flows into the sea. Along the Gargano coast from Lesina to Mattinata there are over 200 springs of this type. Some surfacing others submarines. The spring that emerges from a cave of "La Salata" has very pure waters even if with a significant degree of salinity. In these waters, some fauna species have miraculously been preserved, confined here by the ancient system of coastal wetlands, which has almost completely disappeared today. There is a frog, a water turtle and a water snake. Even the ichthyofauna is validly represented by eels and mullets that come here to lay their eggs. Among the most observed bird species we must mention the barn owl, the wood pigeon, the European roller, the white wagtail, as well as various species of scrub birds. Among the bats there is the noctule. The vegetation is typical of the Mediterranean maquis, rich and fragrant, and in the marshy area, in addition to gigantic thistles, we find a very rare colony of watercress.
After years of difficulties, starting in 2018 the Municipality of Vieste he established the Archaeological Park of Merino, which includes the complex of the Hypogea and the La Salata Paleo-Christian Necropolis.

Visit the Early Christian Necropolis “La Salata”

In order to protect this little corner of paradise, visits are only guided and take place on established days and times,

We invite interested parties to contact the "Polo Culturale" del municipality of Vieste


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Scialmarino beach

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