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Back in 1957, a young Apulian man, passionate about boating, nature and the sea, discovers a bay whilst sailing his boat.

Named on maps as Mergoli’s Bay, it is a pristine place accessible only by sea, with its ancient paths waiting to be discovered in the adjacent woods. 

It’s love at first sight!

He resolves to build a house for himself and his family but soon realizes that such a place deserves the attention of nature tourism; he decides to build a hotel. 

So, after several years of considerable works due to the steep and rocky terrain, the Baia delle Zagare hotel is built, named after the fragrant citrus blossoms copiously growing in the park.

More than 55 years have passed since then and the Baia delle Zagare hotel still retains its “charm”.

History through a photo

Displayed inside the hotel there is a photo. Framed by the master Franco Fontana, this photo from 1970 tells a story.

“It represents my way of understanding photography. In fact, I believe that photography should not document reality, but interpret it. We all have reality around us, but it’s whoever takes the photo that gets to decide what they want to express. Reality is a bit like a block of marble. You can carve out an ashtray or Michelangelo’s Pietà.”

Franco Fontana

Thanks to her I became famous all over the world. It was the French who appreciated her philosophy. In 1978 – by then I had decided to bet on myself, I had given up furniture and taken up photography full time – I had an exhibition in Paris, where Baia delle Zagare was also located.

It was 1970, and with a group of amateur photo friends we went to a hotel on the Gargano, in Puglia, called Baia delle Zagare. It is on a small spur high above the sea, where you get there by an elevator. We decided to take pictures. Some were attracted by the people bathing and some by the water, to me it struck that shadow that the spur etched on the white of the beach”: this is how Franco Fontana recalls how Baia delle Zagare was born, one of his best-known images. At that time I was not yet a professional, for living I sold interior furniture. But I had the passion, I had even paid with my own money for a photography book on Modena, which is now a rarity for collectors.

Alessandro Quitadamo
The artist and photographer from Mattinata, who is passionate about his local area, has exclusively produced for Hotel Baia delle Zagare the photographs seen throughout its rooms. They range from the cliffs to the olive trees and from the sea to the architectural elements. These photographs are a modern interpretation that enhances a living land, rich in colors of incomparable beauty.

Antonio Gentile
Creator and post-producer of the multimedia content available on this site and on official social network pages, partly in thanks to the use of drones.
With an everlasting passion, and thanks to constant collaboration with Hotel Baia delle Zagare, his aim is to convey the unique colors of the Gargano area and the unique emotion that being surrounded by nature can bring, and for one to imagine the contrasting scents of the forest and the sea that characterize the Gargano promontory.

The historical narrative of photographs

A gallery of images which tell the story of the Resort Baia delle Zagare.