The Foresta Umbra nature reserve is a protected natural area located in the innermost part of the Gargano National Park. It owes its name to the dense vegetation that makes it very shady for many parts.
The Umbrian forest has an area of about 10,000 hectares and has a rugged geography with reliefs that reach 800 meters above sea level, with some parts that reach the coast.
Since 2017, its beech forests have become part of the Unesco transnational site "Primordial beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe", thus becoming a World Heritage Site.
The Gargano and the Umbra Forest can be defined as "the kingdom of biodiversity", in fact, even if the Gargano represents only 0.7% of the national territory, it holds 40% of the Italian flora and 70% of the birds nested in our country.
The name Foresta Umbra has ancient origins; in fact, it is believed that it derives from ancient Umbrian populations who resided within the forest itself. A huge territory, unique of its kind, characterized by a huge variety of trees, plants and shrubs; a place full of vegetation and perfect habitat for many animal species. Not only in extension but also in altitude, the Umbra Forest dominates the Gargano because it reaches 832 meters.
Monumentality, high biodiversity and surprising ability to adapt to climate change. These are the characteristics that make the Umbra Forest Old Beech Woods unique in Europe and in the world, to the point of having convinced UNESCO to baptize them a Natural World Heritage Site, a recognition awarded on 7 July 2017.
The Umbra Forest is accessible to visitors through paths marked on maps, during which it is possible to rest and admire the wonderful landscape, letting yourself be carried away by the sounds of the forest and its animals.
Very interesting, especially for children, is the easy path around the artificial lake, full of carp, catfish, turtles and toads that often emerge from the surface to feed on the breadcrumbs thrown by the little ones.
In addition, for families there is no shortage of equipped areas, a refreshment point and an area with games for the entertainment of the little ones located near a suggestive pond.
Not far from the lake there is the area of the deer, where you can "Bambi" who, protected by a net, interact with visitors. Near the "Daini area" there is also the visitor center and the "play forest", a magnificent playground made entirely of wood, completely immersed in nature.
The forest in spring sees the spontaneous orchids in the area bloom.
Currently in the park, the orchid is present with about seventy species represented by 17 different genera. This strip of Italy is a real open-air laboratory. It is in the park that orchid species such as Ophrys garganica, Ophrys promontorii and Ophrys sipontensis have been found for the first time.
Every year, between April and July, scholars and enthusiasts come from all over the world to admire the miracle of the spontaneous flowering of these very special flowers