Umbrian Forest
A world of Biodiversity

Hotel Relais dei Normanni

About 30km from Monte Sant'Angelo stands the Foresta Umbra nature reserve. It is a protected natural area located in the innermost part of the Gargano National Park. It owes its name to the thick vegetation that makes it very shady in many places.

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 reaching close to the coasts.

Since 2017, its beech woods have become part of the transnational UNESCO site "Primordial beech woods 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 realm 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 nested birds in our country.

The History of the Umbra Forest
(UNESCO heritage)

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. An enormous territory, one of a 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.

Monumental nature, high biodiversity and surprising capacity to adapt to climate change. These are the characteristics that make the ancient beech woods of the Umbra Forest unique in Europe and in the world, to the point of having convinced UNESCO to baptize them as a Natural World Heritage Site, a recognition assigned on 7 July 2017.


The Umbra Forest is accessible to visitors via paths marked on maps, during which it is possible to find 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.

Furthermore, for families there is no shortage of equipped areas, a refreshment point and an area with games for the amusement of the little ones located near a suggestive lake.


Not far from the lake is the Daini area, where you can "Bambi" who, protected by a net, interact with visitors. Near the "Daini area" there is also the visitor center and the "Gio Bosco", a magnificent playground made entirely of wood, completely surrounded by nature.


The forest in spring sees the blossoming of the spontaneous orchids registered in the area.

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 were 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

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