The beautiful Monopoli overlooks the Adriatic Sea, starting from the profile of the ancient castle and its walls. Known for its 100 city districts that extend over a flat territory, embraced at a glance by the beautiful viewpoint of Loggia del Pilato, a natural terrace from which you can see a landscape characterized by fortified farms, churches, rock settlements and villas. Symbol of the city is the monumental Castle of Charles V which hosts exhibitions, conferences, now home to the Municipal Archaeological Museum. The fortified farmhouses, well preserved or carefully restored, are located in the heart of the coast, on the low hills and in the flat hinterland. Monopoli is also a fishing village, a city founded on and from the sea, characterized by 15 km of indented coastline with numerous coves and long sandy beaches.
- “Lama degli Ulivi” Botanical Garden, with caves, rock churches and 2000 plant species
- “Santa Maria della Madia” Cathedral
- “San Francesco d'Assisi” Church
- “Santa Maria degli Amalfitani” Church
- Fortified Farmhouses
Polignano a Mare, known as "Pearl of the Adriatic", is only 33km far from the city of Bari. The oldest part of the town stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Birthplace of the singer Domenico Modugno, Polignano enchants with its town centre full of Arab, Byzantine, Spanish and Norman traces, like the remains of the four defense towers that encircled the ancient part of the village. Among these, the bridge on via Traiana, still practicable, that crosses Lama Monachile. From Arco della Porta, once the only access to the town, you enter this magical village, embellished by the 13th century church dedicated to the St. Mary. You cannot miss a visit to "Pino Pascali" Museum, set up in the former Municipal Slaughterhouse, dedicated to the work of the great Apulian sculptor and artist. The coastline, from Grotta Palazzese to Lama Monachile, makes Polignano as one of the most beautiful in Puglia among hidden coves and pretty sandy inlets.
- “Santa Maria Assunta” Church
- “Lama Monachile”
- Domenico Modugno’s Statue
- Sea caves
- City centre narrow streets
City of Itria Valley and Murgia. Known for its characteristic houses called trulli that, since 1996, are part of UNESCO heritage and included in the World Heritage List with the following reasons: "exceptional typology, living continuity, survival of a construction culture of prehistoric origin...". In particular, Monti and Aia Piccola represent the most striking and ancient districts. The residential areas of the Monti district are now dedicated to commercial activities, while in Aia Piccola district the houses have been protected by human action and it is possible to immerse in history and traditions. Do not miss the Siamese trulli and the Sovereign trullo, which represents the maximum design capacity achieved for the trulloconstructions and, at the same time, inaugurates the new construction "cotto" phase, i.e. with the use of mortar.
- Trulli (Siamese Trulli e Sovereign Trullo)
- Red House, Holocaust Museum-Memorial of Southern Italy
- Doctors of the Church’s Sanctuary
- St. Anthony’s Church
VISIT CASTELLANA GROTTE
The most beautiful karst cave in the world is the hidden treasure of Castellana Grotte, a town in the hinterland of the province of Bari, just over 10 km far from the trulli of Alberobello and the coastline of Polignano a Mare. The town derives its name, but above all the tourist vocation, from its speleological complex of international fame, a few steps from the town. It’s a group of caves and tunnels of karst origin, which extend in the subsoil for 3 km to a depth of 70 meters, with an internal temperature of about 16 °C. The caves offer visitors unique scenarios, including canyons, fossils and stalactites and stalagmites, such as Sala delle Grandi Cortine, with red alabaster draperies, and the Grotta Bianca (WhiteCave), the most splendid cavity in the world. New routes, discovered in 1982, are nowadays used only for scientific researches.
- Altar Cave
- The Dome cavern and the Crib passage, where a Marian-shaped stalagmite called Madonnina of the Caves lies.
Matera is the city of Sassi and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Among the oldest cities in the world, whose territory contains evidence of settlements dated back to the Paleolithic Era. The original urban nucleus developed from the natural caves carved into the rock and subsequently modelled into increasingly complex structures within two large natural amphitheatres, Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano. The architecture of the Sassi tells the man's ability to adapt perfectly to the environment and to the natural context, masterly using simple features, such as the constant temperature of the excavated environment, the calcarenite itself (a kind of limestone) of the rocky bank used for the construction of houses on the ground and the use of slopes for the control of water and meteoric phenomena. The architectural structure consists of two systems, the one immediately visible made with the stratifications of houses, courtyards, balconies, palaces, churches, vegetable gardens, streets and gardens, and the interior - and invisible at first sight – one, made of cisterns, neviere, caves, tunnels and essential systems for the life and wealth of local community. The landscape of Sassi extends along the ravines that have their origin in the canyon of the nearby town of Gravina in Puglia, whose landscape is in continuity with Matera and whose characteristics are complementary to it.
- Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso
- Park of the rocky churches of Matera
- Crypt of the original sin
- Museum of Contemporary Sculpture
The “Lioness of Puglia” will amaze and delight you with its historic centre rich in art and culture, and the distinctive flavour of its bread.
The city of Altamura is located less than 50 km (31 miles) inland away from Bari, close to the regional border with Basilicata.
The historic centre, located just inside the ancient walls, can be entered through Porta Bari: it is full of palaces, churches, and characteristic claustri (small, closed courtyards). The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, in the heart of the town, is a must-see.: built by Frederick II, it's a magnificent example of Puglia’s Romanesque architecture and Frederick’s elegant Gothic style. Just outside the town, the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Buon Cammino is another highlight.
In the countryside outside Altamura, in the Alta Murgia National Park, you'll find the famous “Pulo,” a remarkable karst sinkhole roughly 100 meters (c. 300 feet) deep. Many exceptional fossils have been found in the area, including Altamura Man, the unique remains of a complete human skeleton dating to the Palaeolithic period, and 30,000 dinosaur tracks in the Pontrelli neighbourhood.
When you're in Altamura, make sure to try some of the famous bread.
VISIT GRAVINA IN PUGLIA
Located in the area of the “Alta Murgia National Park”, Gravina in Puglia has a lot of places to visit: the old town and its rocky churches, the underground city with its old cellars and cisterns, the famous old bridge over the creek and the impressive cathedral.
Very close to Gravina, just 15 minutes away, there is the ancient city of Matera, known as “Città dei Sassi” (the stone city): it shows the life of ancient populations who inhabited the region since the Paleolithic times. The “Sassi” (stones), renewed over time, pass from a sign of poverty, (so considered until the eighties), to welcoming and valuable places.