FORESTA UMBRA ITINERARY
“Foresta Umbra” is more then 10.426 hectares in Gargano land.
Someone says that the name come from old Umbrian people who lived there, someone else says: “Umbra” because most of it is in the “ombra” shadow for very thick vegetation.
Foresta Umbra is considered the green lung of all Gargano Park; it develops until 830 mt. high. The forest is very old and even fire and deforestation it saved its green cover while the centuries. In the highest part there is large foliage like black Carpino tree and white Carpino tree, or maples, oaks. Lower there are beech trees down to 270 mt above sea level, probably for a mixture of climate and environment conditions. In underbrush we have several kinds of herbaceous flora: orchids, anemones, violets or cyclamens..
Beech tree is the most important and the symbol of Foresta Umbra. It could be 30 mt. high with straight trunk, lots of branches and thick mane.
Foresta Umbra host a very rich fauna, there is “capriolo italicus”, protect species from WWF. It is very shy and eats only tender shoots that it can find in very deep forest. Its coat is short and mane, in springtime is kind of red and wintertime is grey. It has black and white spots around its eyes and muzzle. Others mammals who live in Foresta Umbra are badger, wild cat and marten.
About birds we have several woodpeckers: major and minor red woodpecker, mid red woodpecker and very rare woodpecker with white back, who is only between oldest and most mature beech trees where it can pecks better. It makes nest in trees wood cavities and eats insects it captures with its sticky long tongue. About predator birds, we have “sparviero”, royal owl and “allocco”. “Sparviero” is the one present all year around in Foresta Umbra. There are lots of kind of sparrow, like “balia col collare” (nanny with necklace), bottaccio thrush etc.
Foresta Umbra is crossed by 14 routes made by “Corpo Forestale dello Stato” it’s a kind of Rangers. In the entrance of every route there are boards where you can read the name of the place where you start and the name of the one you’ll arrive and how long it takes. Along the routes several trunk are marked by yellow stripes to define the way, so you can’t get lost!
Information point is close to the naturalistic museum. The museum shows Foresta Umbra flora, archeology about Paleolithic and Neolithic age and Garganic fauna with 200 stuff animals that live in this park. Outside the museum they reconstruct a typical woodcutter house.
Before you start your visit trough the Foresta Umbra, remember that this woods has an high environmental value and it’s a protected area, so pay attention to the animals, plants and flowers. Do not leave rubbish or cigarettes stubs and do not scream. The forest is rich of silent sound that you can ear. We suggest you to get a map of routes and information about official guides schedule; it’s the best way to visit this green paradise.
Mountain biking lovers can rent a bike to make the visit more excite.