“Kiddo, you might need to re-think your travels plans” said my brother when he was unable to locate the Tremiti Islands in his trusty atlas. My decision to choose Isole Tremiti was based on Italy’s secret islands, Jo Caird’s Irish Times travel article on the islands, an archipelago so small that I unusually skipped the atlas step of travel planning and headed straight to Google maps.
The Tremiti Islands are located in the Adriatic Sea, 22 miles off the Italian coast and part of the Gargano National Park. San Domino is the largest of the Tremiti islands and is where I stayed. I travelled to the Adriatic coastal town of Termoli where I got the morning ferry to San Domino. Termoli is a resort town on the Bari-Venice railway line and has a large expanse of free public beach. The quaint old town which overlooks the beach to its north and the ferry terminal to its south is perfect for a passeggiata. I highly recommend Locanda Alfieri for accommodation in the old town (www.locandaalfieri.com).
As no cars, apart from residents’ vehicles, are allowed on the Tremiti Islands I and every other tourist arrived as foot passengers. San Domino is approximately 2km2 in size and with that information I decided to walk from the ferry to Hotel Eden, completely underestimating the island’s heat and the weight of my bag.
San Domino’s small size is ideal for pure escapism. No matter what direction you walk and how lost you get you will return to your departure point within an hour, provided you don’t get sidetracked by the island’s many coves.
San Domino is also a nature-lover’s paradise with a wide variety of flora and, by the number of critters I picked out of my beach bag, an equally ample number of fauna. Pine trees cover most of the island with their sweet aroma permeating the air.
With neither Italian language skills nor a map I initially felt utterly stranded but after a while was at ease with the escapism the islands offered. The only other non-Italians I heard or met were four German tourists at Calle delle Arene, San Domino’s only sandy beach. The lack of international tourists meant that restaurants began serving dinner at the Italian hour of 10pm, something my body clock will never get used to. However, I had no trouble getting used to the view from my room.
I took the few minutes boat ride to San Nicola island for an afternoon trip where centuries-old buildings house artisan craft shops and cafes. Boats depart San Domino to bring visitors to all of the islands.
I’m an old-school traveller whose travel inspiration comes from leafing through the atlas and the travel pages of newspapers and magazines before researching through guidebooks and cyberspace. It’s a method which works well for me but in this case the internet played more of a role in the earlier planning. The change in the planning process paid off as my time on Isole Tremiti was a happy time indeed.
Italy’s secret islands:
© Hazel Joy 2016