The village of Ischitella is situated on a hill dominated by olive trees and Mediterranean bushes about 300 meters above sea level where it forms part of the Gargano National Park.
The ancient village is also called "Earth", and separate from the newer part, called the "Bridge". The 'Earth' is characterized by houses with balconies overlooking the winding narrow streets leading to the main monuments of the city.
On top of a high hill in the old town of Ischitella is the Palace of the Pinto (now called Ventrella) which is an imposing three-storey building with an impressive portal on the main façade. It was commissioned in the 18th century by Francis Emmanuel Pinto (1697-1767), who built it on the ruins of an ancient Swabian castle.
The castle or "castrum" was built in the Middle Ages by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia. The castle collapsed following the earthquake of 1640, after which the ancient fortress became the residence of the Pinto Princes.
Near the palace you can see the Church of St. Eustace, the patron saint of the town, with a façade composed of mouldings and friezes in stone. This church has a single nave and in the two lateral niches you can see statues of the Patron Saint and San Pasquale. There are remarkable paintings on the altars by Gennaro Abbate, an 18th century painter from Naples.
In the 18th century the Princes of Ischitella decorated several local churches with works by this Neapolitan school of art. Examples can be seen in the Church of San Eustachio, the Church of St. Francis and the Church of Purgatory. The presence of so many works by the Neapolitan school in Ischitella suggests that they were "local artists who were trained in Naples and then returned to work in their land of origin.
Other notable religious monuments in Ischitella are the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (17th century) with three naves, adorned with wooden statues of various saints, and with works of the Neapolitan school, and the Church and Convent of St. Francis (15th century) with three naves, and large windows in Gothic style.
Just outside the historic city you can visit the Abbey of San Pietro in Cuppis, which is of Romanesque style and built in the first half of the 11th century.
As well as the old town of Ischitella with its narrow alleys overhung by balconies it is a resort and destination that is visited for its natural beauty.
It is located on the northern side of Gargano on a hill covered with olive trees and thick Mediterranean vegetation, in an area rich in springs and below which the “Romandato” stream flows.
From the village there is a view that stretches from the hills surrounding the Adriatic Sea to the Tremiti islands and Lake Varano, with its isthmus and the popular beaches of “Isola Varano” and “Foce Varano”, Ischitella's beach.
Regional speciality products are primarily olive oil and citrus, while the most traditional dishes to try in the local restaurants include "Orecchiette” with turnip greens and "Troccoli" (the typical Puglia “spaghetti”, also called “spaghetti guitar”).
See also history of Ischitella
Map of Ischitella and places to visit
Ischitella places to visit
See more places nearby in the Puglia guide