The millenary Umbra Forest is a protected nature reserve located in the Gargano National Park, in Puglia. It has an area that reaches up to 832 meters above sea level and extends over 10,000 hectares of surface, so as to be nicknamed the green lung of the Gargano. In Umbra Forest there are 15 paths of varying difficulty, suitable for nature lovers, trekking, cycling, but also for photography enthusiasts.
The origin of the name of the forest is not clear: according to some, the name Umbra derives from the ancient people of the Umbrians (a prehistoric Celtic tribe), according to others, the name simply indicates a shady place. In fact, most of the land here is in the shade thanks to a very thick and dense vegetation.
It is one of the most interesting places to visit, especially for families with children. In just 15 km of journey you pass from the golden beaches of the Gargano, to a separate, almost mountainous environment.
The Flora of the Umbra Forest boasts over 2000 plant species, so much so that the Gargano is given the name of botanical garden. In the upper part of the forest, beech trees predominate, in the intermediate Cerri and Querce and in the lower one the Holm oaks. To these species are also added the Farnetto, the Roverella and noble species such as the Maple or Pole, the White Hornbeam, the Field Maple, the Sycamore Maple, the Flowering Ash and the Tasso.
The Fauna of the Forest is very rich in animal species that find their natural habitat here. Some are common species like wild boar, roe deer, weasels and woodpeckers, other rare ones such as fallow deer and wild cats.
Certainly worth visiting are the Cutino Lake, better known as the Umbra Lake, an artificial lake and true oasis of peace with different colors depending on the weather and the season, the Naturalistic Museum, in the Visitor Center Area, which has sections dedicated to the flora, archeology and fauna of the Gargano, the Deer Reserve, located in a fenced area a few meters from the Visitor Center and the Gioca Bosco, a play-educational area set up inside the Forest and intended for children.