tremiti Islands

A trip to the Tremiti islands, to discover the myth of Diomede

Just 22 km from the Gargano promontory, in the blue of the Adriatic Sea, lies the only archipelago of this portion of the Mediterranean: the Tremiti Islands.

The municipality of the Tremiti Islands

The Tremiti archipelago constitutes a real scattered municipality with less than 500 habitual residents, distributed over the inhabited islands of San Nicola and San Domino.
Next to the main islands there is the uninhabited island of Capraia and the rocks of Cretaccio and la Vecchia. About 20 km away and completely uninhabited we find the island of Pianosa.

How to reach the Tremiti Islands

The archipelago is easily accessible by sea thanks to the numerous i Tremiti ferries that cross the Mediterranean every day. Of the six islands, only two have ports: the island of San Domino, the most populated and complete from the point of view of the tourist offer, and that of San Nicola, which is to all effects the administrative center of the archipelago. It is good to know that cars are not allowed on the islands but only bicycles and the ports of departure can be those of Vieste, Termoli, Peschici and Rodi Garganico with journey times ranging from 50 minutes to 2 hours.

San Domino & San Nicola

In addition to being particularly pleasant from a naturalistic and landscape point of view - the island of San Domino is for example covered with Aleppo pines to form a real forest that deserves the title of "Orto del Paradiso" - the Tremiti are particularly interesting also from the historical point of view, just think that on the island of San Nicola there are numerous towers, walls and above all the abbey of Santa Maria a Mare. This is an imposing XNUMXth century religious complex characterized, in line with the architecture of the time, by important fortifications, boundary walls and towers; history and myth merge in this open-air museum: of Cistercian origin, it was sacked and plundered by pirates who massacred the monks, leaving it without inhabitants. However, it still preserves the floor mosaics from the XNUMXth century and the crucifix from the XNUMXth century.

Le Diomedee, a legendary name

Speaking of the close intertwining of myth, legend and history, it is worth focusing on the origin of the name of the archipelago. According to some reconstructions, Tremiti seems to come from the Greek Τρίμερος (trimeros): this word really means three pieces – three islands – in honor of the three main ones that make up the archipelago. Yet, digging deeper into the myth, it turns out that they were originally called Diomedee Islands. Diomedes, king of Argos - tells the blind poet Homer - was one of the protagonists of the Trojan war: after distinguishing himself as a fighter, at the end of the long battle he returned to his hometown, where he was not recognized by his family due to a curse of Aphrodite. Thus he took to the sea again, becoming the promoter of Hellenic culture throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Arrived in Puglia, in the daunia, he created the islands by his hand by throwing into the sea three boulders brought with him from Troy which generated San Domino, San Nicola and Capraia.

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