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The town of Lesina is situated on a small peninsula on the southern side of Lesina Lake and to the north of the Puglia region of south-east Italy. Lesina is an attractive tourist resort that is best known for the lagoons of the Lesina and Varano Lakes.
It is above all a place for visitors who want to discover nature, with the presence of the lake, sea and lush vegetation, and also a large Mediterranean maquis, with woods, pine forests and dunes where you can admire a wide variety of birds and other animals, including the the buffalo.
Lake Lesina is a large saltwater lake seperated from the Adriatic sea by a wooded sandy strip of land - the Bosco Isola.
Many bird species use the lagoon (and the neighbouring Varano lake) to nest or stop in their migrations, and can be photographed during nesting and migration - hence Lesina is a popular destination for bird spotters.
The lake is also a popular fishing spot and a local delicacy is eel fished from the lake. Windsurfing and other water sports are also popular and the lake's Marina is the centre of a lot of its tourism.The Marina di Lesina has a holiday village, campsites and a water park.
In addition to the appeal of the natural surroundings Lesina itself contains some buildings of great artistic interest. Principal among these is the cathedral.
The cathedral, built in the Greek-roman style, has had repeated reconstructions over the course of time. The current cathedral was built between 1828 and 1837, and it is located on the site of a former church, itself built in the second half of the 17th century near the church which was destroyed during the earthquake of 1630.
The roof and the ceiling, which collapsed in 1922, were completed in the early 1950s.
Entering the cathedral you see the vestibule, with slender columns and Romanesque arches. The interior has a central nave with two side chapels, surmounted by paintings of the “Holy Cross” and 'Eucharist”, and a painting showing the "Assumption of Mary into heaven" above the liturgical area with the baptismal font.
The Church is decorated with a series of frescoes, which, like the paintings of the side chapels and the central balustrade, are the work of the Neapolitan painter G. Bocchetti (1888-1990, a painter of landscapes and still lifes). The frescoes depict the life of Jesus from the "Nativity" to the "Flight into Egypt" on one side, the “Meeting of Jesus with the Doctors of the Law ", and" Jesus with Mary and Joseph Carpenter ", on the other side. The cycle is concluded with the 'Last Supper', located above the entrance of the Cathedral.
Abbey Church of Santa Maria della Ripalta
Another interesting religious monument close to Lesina is the Abbey Church of Santa Maria della Ripalta, which has a renaissance period wooden statue depicting the “Madonna with the child". According to critics, the work seems to be a copy of the Neapolitan school of Giovanni da Nola (1488-1548, a sculptor who was able to blend the art of the fourteenth century with the ideas that came from the art of Michelangelo [1475-1564]).
The Bishop's Palace is another monument to look out for in Lesina.
In addition to its natural and artistic resources, the Gargano region is also known for its culinary tradition. Lesina is most famous for the eels, with which the local speciality eel soup is prepared, best accompanied by one of the delicious local wines.