SARACENO TRAIL – Highlights
15 KM – 600 D+
Start /Finish – Mattinata – Gargano
The route starts from the historic centre of Mattinata in the panoramic square of Santa Maria della Luce. You head down the town’s main road and then run downhill, turning onto a small paved street which winds through olive trees, leading you onto an ancient shepherds’ track that runs through rocks and single tracks. You soon reach the top of Mount Saraceno, passing through the Daunia Gate, which used to be the entrance to the Daunia Necropolis 2,500 years ago. The Trail runs through this incredible archaeological site, an open-air museum seemingly suspended between the sky and the sea. Once you reach the ruins of the old Saracena Tower overlooking the sea, you head downhill, almost running headfirst into the Adriatic Sea. The first part may be easy and fast, but the middle part is very technical and steep. The final section is exposed yet manageable, taking you to the tip of the headland and then onto the isolated and peaceful Mattinata Beach, one of those rare places with nothing nearby, just olive trees. It’s a challenging 2 km beach run, first on sand and then pebbles! As you leave the beach, you climb back up the other slope of the bay. The first part here is paved (past the entrance to Hotel Il Porto, featuring the first refreshment stop at 10 KM) as you then climb back over the ridge through Mediterranean scrub until you reach the small village of “Principe” at a height of 200 mt AMSL. You run down a steep, rapid descent along a shepherds’ path that takes you to the Olive Mill (up to this point the trail’s segment has been the same as for all the other Trails). You continue along an asphalt street up to the entrance of Mattinata from the opposite side to when you left, arriving back at the scenic Square of Santa Maria della Luce.
INFO & ADVICE
This short course has all the features which a trail should have: variations in height, technical sections, panoramic views and easier sections. It also offers a full view over the coast, the hinterland and the Mattinata plain, crossing the beach and the whole historic centre of town. Last but not least, the feeling of running in the sky at an archaeological site like Mount Saraceno is second to none!! It is recommended for joggers, trail runners and trekkers of all levels. Our advice to anyone looking to clock a good time is: do not underestimate the technical descent from Mount Saraceno or the two-km beach run, they sort out the men from the boys! We look forward to seeing you!