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
The old town of Fasano is characterized by narrow streets, white walls, arches and small squares. The old walls still guard the Tower of Fogge, once one of the accesses to the city.
Not to be missed near Fasano are the archaeological ruins of Egnazia and the zoo, the largest wildlife park in Italy. To be admired is the dolmen of Montalbano, currently intact and probably dated back to the Bronze Age, around 2000-1500 BC. Along Highway 16, next to a farmhouse, you can find the Temple of Seppanibbale, dated back to the 9th century, built with large blocks of local stone, which conserves a remarkable cycle of frescoes from the Lombard period.
- Egnazia National Archaeological Museum "Giuseppe Andreassi"
- Egnazia Archaeological Park
The charming Savelletri is a suggestive landing point on the Adriatic Sea, framed by the cliff, about 5 km from the city centre of Fasano. Known for its sea and fantastic beaches, Savelletri is a popular tourist town. Never excessively crowded, its sandy beaches and small cliffs offer both free and private areas, and in spring and summer this corner of Puglia flourishes in all its splendour. Savelletri is ideal for an exclusive relaxing holiday: places to stay are typical farms and old villages, transformed into cosy resorts to offer the highest standards of quality and luxury. Treasure chest of findings is the Archaeological Park of Egnazia and the nearby Golf course, one of the best greens in Puglia with 18 holes.
- Egnazia Archaeological Park
- Egnazia National Archaeological Museum "Giuseppe Andreassi"
- Aragonese Castle in Brindisi
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 trullo constructions 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.
Its name indicates the distinctive circular shape of the old town centre, built around 1000 b.C., consisting of a group of houses that farmers built on top of the hill, including the typical "cummerse", i.e. houses with sloping roof. Among the white houses in the town centre you can also find the bell towers of several churches, including the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Church of the Holy Spirit, St. Nicholas’ Church, St. Rocco’s Church and the Madonna della Catena’s Church. Inside Madonna della Catena’s Church there is a Renaissance polyptych dedicated to the Madonna delle Rose and the sculptural group of Saint George on horseback. From Vittorio Emanuele Square, with two large 19th-century pilasters indicating the old Porta Napoli, you will walk on a path with the Town Hall (former Municipal Library of the late 18th-century), the baroque Morelli Palace with its splendid portal and balconies with railings made of wrought iron with goose breast and, later on, the Cathedral. Locorotondo’s got the Orange Flag, a mark of the environmental-touristic quality by the Italian Touring Club given to small towns in the hinterland that stand out for their excellent offer and quality hospitality.
- Madre di San Giorgio’s Church
- Madonna della Greca’s Church
- Morelli Palace
- Itria Valley Eco-Museum
VISIT MARTINA FRANCA
Martina Franca rises on the eastern hills of the Murgia plateau with equal distance from the Ionian and the Adriatic Seas, and derives its name in part to the devotion to San Martino, who saved its inhabitants from enemy invasions, in part to the times when Philip I offered local inhabitants exemptions on the payment of taxes. The town, one of the most populous in Taranto province, is a melting pot of history and art. To enhance the old town are the typical white houses that develop vertically in winding and narrow streets. Martina Franca enchants for the triumph of limestone architectural decoration, which envelops every single glimpse with 18th-century virtuosities of extraordinary creativity. In a mix of baroque and rococo lines it is also possible to admire the sumptuous Duke Palace, Martucci Palace, Universino Palace, Motolese Palace, Maggi Palace, Ancona Palace and, within the medieval walls, the precious San Martino Cathedral that holds the sculptures of Stefano da Putignano and Giuseppe Sammartino. Instead, to discover Martina Franca’s rural soul, it’s necessary to drive along countryside roads with the distinguishing trulli and cultivations framed by dry stone walls and wild fragrances.
- San Martino’s Cathedral
- Bosco delle Pianelle Museum
- Carmine Church
- San Francesco d’Assisi Church
- Sant’Antonio dei Cappuccini Church
Cisternino owns the Orange Flag, a mark of the environmental-touristic quality by the Italian Touring Club given to small towns in the hinterland that stand out for their excellent offer and quality hospitality. The most important access point to the old part of Cisternino is Porta Grande. The urban site of medieval imprint has remained almost intact and you can “dive” into the authentic atmosphere of the four districts of "Bère Vécchie", "Scheledd", "UPantène", "L'ìsule" which - with the outer one called " u Bùrie " - make a labyrinth of streets and open spaces where white houses, narrow streets with geraniums, stairways, loggias and arches alternate.
- Madre di San Nicola di Pàtara’s Church
- Itria Valley’s Botanical Conservatory
- Amati Tower
- Capece or Vanto Tower
- Porta Grande’s Norman Tower
- Governor's Palace
- Specchia di Cisternino
The urban identity of Ostuni lays in its old district, "Terra", ad defined by its inhabitants. Unmistakable town that stands out on the highest hill of the urban area: it is only white painted and characterized by a duplication of floors, streets and stairs, streets that intersect arches and squares, circular houses, often carved into the rock. The white houses and the peculiar topography have given the town fairy-tale epithets, such as “White Town”, “Queen of Olives” and the “Crib Town”. Once you reach the highest part of the town you can admire the beauties of the Cathedral and the Episcopal Palace.
- Santa Maria dell’Assunzione’s Cathedral
- Episcopal Palace
- Civic Museum and Archaeological Park
- Regional Nature Reserve
- San Giacomo di Compostela’s Church
- San Francesco d’Assisi’s Church
Grottaglie has its origins in the green and spectacular canyons that surround it, on a land marked by the presence of ravines, on whose sides several caves were excavated. From the ground, the town seems to have derived the art that made it famous in the world; around the precious town centre, characterized by winding streets and small houses with low vaults, there is the "district of ceramics", a creative forge of refined terracotta works. In the over 50 workshops the lathes still continue to work with generations of craftsmen giving life to dishes, pottery, holy water stoups, ladies and knights, and the famous "pomes" of glazed ceramic, symbols of local art. A unique scenario in the world: in the moat of a 15th century castle, for hundreds of years, ceramic craftsmen shape and decorate clay.
- Bishop's Castle and the Main Tower
- Cave Workshop "Carriero"
- Santa Barbara’s rocky church
- San Francesco di Paola’s church and convent
Called as "the city of the two seas", Taranto overlooks Mar Grande (Big Sea) and Mar Piccolo (Small Sea), with a strategic position that has made it protagonist of important historical events. The ancient and precious proofs are kept in the National Archaeological Museum, called Marta, where it is possible to admire the famous "Golds of Taranto", refined productions of local goldsmith's art between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC, as well as the immense collection of archaeological finds from the whole Ionian province. The history of Taranto runs along the two bridges that connect the old city to the new one. In addition to the stone bridge, built after the flood in 1883, the revolving bridge inaugurated in 1887 continues to have the charm of the great mechanical engineering works and leads through the streets around the central Cava Street, where you can find several artisan workshops. In this isthmus of land stand noble architectures and churches from different eras, such as the San Cataldo’s Cathedral between the Romanesque and the Baroque period, or that of San Domenico’s with Gothic elements.
- San Cataldo’s Cathedral
- San Domenico Maggiore’s Church
- National Archaeological Museum
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
Famous Italian art city, known as "the Lady of the Baroque". The ancient Messapian origins and the archaeological remains of the Roman domination are mixed with the wealth and exuberance of the typically 17th-century Baroque, churches and palaces of the town centre, built with typical Lecce stone - a malleable limestone, very suitable to be worked with the chisel. Characterized by ornate buildings, elegant streets and surprising squares. Charming in the town centre is the splendid Sant'Oronzo Square with its Roman amphitheatre, the column of the Saint and the Sedile Palace, today a tourist information point. Not far are the Teatini Convent and Sant'Irene Church, a Baroque masterpiece.
- Maria Santissima Assunta’s Cathedral
- Holy Cross Cathedral
- Roman Amphitheatre
- Charles V’s Castle