The small town of Carpino is situated on a hill between Lake Varano and the Umbra Forest in the Gargano region of Puglia (south-east Italy). The characterful Old Town in Carpino has houses 'stacked' on the streets and small alleys connected by stairways.
The Norman-Swabian Castle in the old town was built by the Normans in the 11th century and then passed into the hands of the Swabians. Today only a few traces of it remain, such as the old square tower with a pyramidal base and an overhanging cylindrical structure.
The Main church in Carpino was consecrated in 1678 by Archbishop Vincenzo Maria Orsini in honour of St. Nicholas of Mira, who then ascended the papal throne as Pope Benedict XIII (1649-1730).
The building has elements of Baroque style and an elegant portal. The decorated main façade has some niches with stone statues, while above the portal is a window, in stained glass, placing the light directly on the apse.
At the corners of the façade there are two stone statues in the center of the gable roof of a wrought iron cross.
The dome above the main altar is fully painted, unlike other parts of the church, where several restorations have ruined the frescoes. At the four corners of the dome the four Evangelists are represented.
The bell tower is in the left corner of the Church and is spread over three levels, the last of which are the belfries and the old dome cover.
In the Piazza del Popolo, on top of a staircase, stands the massive structure of the Church of St Cyril. This church existed in 1310 at which time it acted as an oratory then was modernized in the late 18th century in a baroque style.
To the side of the building there is an ancient Romanesque portal, which was originally the main entrance. Inside the vault you can see a painting in tempera depicting the Holy Trinity, while to the side you can see the medallions of the two patron saints venerated in Carpino, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Rocco.
On the hill called Pastromiele there is also the small Church of the Holy Cross.
The main source of income for the town is still agriculture, among which the cultivation of olive trees and olive oil is important and one of the most popular and valuable oils of the Gargano. Also notable are the production of vegetables, including beans and citrus fruits, while handicrafts is another important local industry with articles still manufactured according to the ancient traditions, using old wooden looms and the production of objects and wicker furniture.
The local cuisine of Carpino reflects the Mediterranean diet. The traditional dishes are made mostly of vegetables and seasonal vegetables, sea fish, and products from the nearby lakes and woods. There are many local recipes to try, such as chicory with mashed beans, the "Orecchiette", Carpino soup, stuffed squid and raw onion. Among the cheeses we suggest the Caciocavallo, scamorza, and Giuncata.
All to be accompanied by the folk-music of the famous “Cantori” of Carpino!