Puglia makes up the southern heel of Italy’s distinctively boot-shaped peninsula, and Gargano is the region's northern spur that dramatically juts out into the Adriatic Sea.
From Phoenicians in the ninth century BC and ancient Greeks, to invading sixteenth century Saracens, and even faraway Normans, visitors have historically swept across this promontory, leaving a cultural imprint that gives the region a unique feeling of other-worldliness.
But it is the untamed landscape of vertiginous white cliffs, isolated beaches and hidden coves that renders Gargano a wild, enchanting place.
So where better to visit aboard a Ferrari Roma, itself widely acclaimed as embodying a timeless, dreamy aesthetic.
The simple wooden pier in the tiny coastal village of Rodi Garganico was the point of departure. Fittingly, a Diomedea sea bird - whose shrieking call is said by local myth to represent the laments of soldiers of ancient Greece for the death of their eponymous leader – flew overhead in welcome.
The journey soon paused in a residential courtyard that featured the characteristic 'a calce' technique of white wall covering, traceable back to those ancient Phoenicians.
The tight turns and steep inclines climbing toward the village of Peschici tested the lower depths of the eight-speed gearbox, then a dash along clifftop roads teetering on the jagged volcanic coastline called into play the Ferrari Roma’s 5-setting manettino.
Daring to explore rugged hillsides was soon rewarded by views of woodlands covered in Aleppo Pine trees – each one said by legend to represent a single sin committed by the Benedictine monks who planted them centuries ago.
These gave way to single track roads where ancient olive groves enveloped the car on both sides.
Bursting from the embrace of the olive groves the landscape then offered spectacular views over the secluded sandy beach of Zaiana, an untouched haunt known only to locals.
The Ferrari Roma pushed on toward Vieste, a beautiful medieval town shining brilliant white in the sunshine.
But the clifftop edge suddenly revealed a final surprise, a splendid example of a 'trabucco', another of this surreal territory's traditional features. Since ancient times these gangly wooden structures have populated Gargano's steep, rocky coastline. Made from the trunks of Aleppo Pine trees, resistant to salt water, they cling precariously to the sheer cliff faces, permitting Pugliese fishermen to expertly lower their nets into the wild waters of the Adriatic down below. Years of tradition and passion come into play.
It was a fitting finale to the Ferrari Roma's visit to Gargano, where an enchanting land welcomed a timelessly beautiful car destined to enrich Ferrari's own legend.