Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Usually people go to the well known places, big cities, but Italy is more than that. The south of Italy is the perfect feel the real scent of the country, the one with less foreigners as in the north, more authentic I’d say. One of the richest archeological regions of Italy is actually Apulia. 

Apulia, Italy

It is situated in the south-eastern part of the Italian peninsula. This region is bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Ionian Sea in the southeast. The “heel of Italy’s boot” Apulia is a charming region that can be visited all year round. It showcases nature, history, tradition, tastes and spirituality.

1. BARI is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region. It is the second most important economic centre of the mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Bari served as one of the major slave depots of the Mediterranean, providing a central location for the trade in Slavic slaves. The slaves were mostly captured by Venice from Dalmatia, the Holy Roman Empire from what is now Prussia and Poland, and the Byzantines from elsewhere in the Balkans, and were generally destined for other parts of the Byzantine Empire and (most frequently) the Muslim states surrounding the Mediterranean.

Orthodox Church of San Nicola, Bari

The Russian Orthodox Church of San Nicola was built in the early 20th century to welcome Russian pilgrims who came to the city to visit the church of Saint Nicholas in the old city where the relics of the saint remain.

Margherita theatre, Bari

The Margherita theatre.

Barivecchia, Bari

Barivecchia, Bari

Barivecchia (Old Bari) is a sprawl of streets and passageways making up the section of the city to the north of the modern Murat area. Barivecchia was until fairly recently considered a “no-go” area by many of Bari’s residents due to the high levels of petty crime.

Petruzzelli Theatre, Bari

The Petruzzelli Theatre is one of the most important opera houses in Italy after La Scala in Milan and the San Carlo Theatre in Naples.

The Castello Svevo was built by Roger II of Sicily around 1131. Destroyed in 1156, it was rebuilt by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.

View of Punta Perotti seaside area.

2. Castel del Monte is a 13th-century citadel and castle. It was erected during the 1240s by the Emperor Federick II. The “Enciclopedia Italiana” describes it as “the most fascinating castle built by Frederick II”. The fortress is an octagonal prism with an octagonal tower at each corner. Castel del Monte is a successful blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic. The mathematical and astronomical rigour of its plan and form, and the eclecticism of its cultural elements, deriving from antiquity, the Cistercian tradition of northern Europe, and the Ummayyad ‘desert castles’ and fortified monasteries in the Near East and North Africa.

Svevo Castle, Apulia
3. Trani.  I could speak about this city for hours, because it is the place were I grew up. I spent there 3 years of high-school. It is a very small city, but VERY beautiful. It is mentioned for the first time in 13th century in the Tabula Peutingeriana – a copy of an ancient Roman itinerary. However, according to the archeological findings the city has prehistorical origins. The most flourishing age of Trani was the 11th century, when it became an episcopal one. Its port is well placed for the Crusades and it became the most important on the Adriatic Sea. The presence of other consulates in many northern Europe centres, even in England and Netherlands, shows Trani’s trading and political importance in the Middle Ages.

Trani’s harbour.

Trani, Italy

The Cathedral of Trani. It is dedicated to Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim, a Greek who died in Trani in 1094 during his pilgrimage to Rome.

Some of the streets in and around the Ghetto remain much as they were in the medieval period, and many of the houses display more or less of Norman decoration.

Trani, Italy

The Church of Ognissanti which at one stage was the chapel of the Knights Templar.

Trani, Italy

The Svevo Castle was built in 1233 by Federico II of Svevia.

While in Trani make sure to try Moscato di Trani. It is one of the notable wines of the Apulia region.

4. Alberobello is a small town famous for its unique trulli buildings. Trullo is a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. The abundance of calcareous sedimentary material in the area lead to the building of houses with dry stone without the use of mortar. Their style of construction is specific to the Itria Valley. Trulli were generally constructed as temporary field shelters and storehouses or as permanent dwellings by small proprietors or agricultural labourers. Building the houses of dry stone was a requirement of Count Giangirolamo II as in this way it was avoidable to pay taxes on them.

Alberobello, Italy

Alberobello, Italy

Local liquor.

Alberobello, Italy

The Church of Saint Antonio. It was built between 1926 and 1927.

Alberobello, Italy

The Procession of Saint Antonio. 

Alberobello, Italy

5. Ostuni is commonly called “the White Town” for its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture. The so-called “Old Town” is Ostuni’s citadel built on top of a hill and still fortified by the ancient walls. The old town is regarded as an architectural jewel. It’s interesting that Ostuni is the fifth city in Italy for the percentage of British people residents. People from North Europe, in particular Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and Germany came to Ostuni in search of good weather and good food. This particular phenomenon is called “salentoshire” and characterizes this area of Apulia since 2010.

Ostuni, Italy

6. Polignano a Mare is a beautiful city, loved by tourists. The oldest part of town lies on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Adriatic sea. Particularly interesting are its natural caves, the historic center and the remains of Roman dominance.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

The entry to the Old Town.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

The Church Matrice Dell’Assunta

Polignano a Mare, Italy

The Old Town view from the Restaurant Covo dei Saraceni.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Grotta Palazzese Restaurant. It is the one of the most popular places where the local nobles held banquets there in the 1700s.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

A Cave in Polignano a Mare.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

The religious festival of San Vito il Martire. It takes place for 3 days from the 14 of June until the 16 of June. The procession takes place on the sea, San Vito is placed on a boat, that goes from the port of San Vito to Cala Paura. Once landed, the icon is carried on shoulders in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, where, with a solemn celebration, the keys of the city are symbolically handed.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

7. Monopoli  from the greek monos and polis means unique city. The city maintains, in fact, the charm that comes from its history and its traditions. Italians and foreigners love to pass their holidays in this beautiful place. Here you can find testimonies of different cultures, such as: Roman, Byzantine, Lombard, Norman and Hispanic.

The Church S. Domenico con Rosone.

The Cathedral Basilica.

The view of the Old Town from the city beach Cala Porta Vecchia.

Don Ferrante’s Terrace. 

The old harbour. 

The Charles V castle

The beach Torre Cintola. 

8. Lecce is commonly called “The Florence of the South” because of the mixture of the archaeological remains of Roman rule and the exuberance of Baroque churches and palaces, built in local stone. The city has a long traditional affinity with Greek culture, which is going back to its foundation. The Messapians, who founded the city are considered to have been Cretans in Greek records.

Porta Rudiae.

A house in the Old Town and the 70 metre high bell tower in Piazza del Duomo.

Piazza del Duomo.

The Roman Amphitheatre.

Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Sant’Oronzo, is considered to have served as the city’s first Christian bishop and is Lecce’s patron saint.

Church of Santa Croce.

The streets of Lecce.

Porta Napoli.

The south is famous for its food thanks to the thousands of emigrants. Patate riso cozze is one of the most representative dish for this region.

Rustico leccese and Pasticciotto leccese and ice coffe with almond milk.

The famous Focaccia barese.

Orecchiette vongole e porcini. Orecchiette is a traditional pasta for this region.

Sea food: oysters, sea urchins.

Calzone.

Be prepared to come back home with some extra kg, a lot of impressions and thousands of photos!

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