Apulia - Travel Guide and Tourism Information for Apulia, Italy

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Apulia, Italy

APULIA / PUGLIA
Provinces: Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto

This region forms the most eastern part of the peninsula and has a long coastline, facing the Ionian and the Adriatic Seas. It is essentially a flatland. The coasts are essentially high and, in the Gargano district, plunge steep into the sea; in the other areas, they are sandy or rocky, but usually flat.

BARI


The city is divided into medieval and modern sections.

The old city has typical narrow winding streets, the new part grew all around this ancient nucleus since 1813. Among the sights are the 12th-century cathedral of S.Sabino with a beautiful Odigitria icon; the impressive Castello Svevo (a conglomeration of Roman and Norman fortifications, topped off with 16th-century towers); and the 11th-century Basilica of San Nicola (the final resting place for the bones of St. Nicholas).

Its construction began in 1087 and was terminated in 1187. Particular attention was given to the furnishings of the presbytery, a XII-Century floor mosaic and to an elaborate ciborium, the oldest of its kind in Apulia.

Surroundings - In Canosa di Puglia: the Cathedral of S.Sabino. Have an excursion to the Grotte di Castellana. In Conversano: Cathedral and Church of SS.Cosma and Damiano.

LECCE


One of the most beautiful baroque towns in Italy. In fact, the particular architectural style used is called barocco leccese. Start your visit from Piazza S.Oronzo, on the south side you’ll see the remains of the Anfiteatro Romano, which probably dates from the time of Hadrian.

The finest, certainly the most ornate Baroque church is the Basilica di Santa Croce whose facade, the work of the local architect Antonio Zimbalo, took around 150 years to complete, its upper half a riot of decorative garlands and flowers around a central rose window.

The Church of Santa Chiara, in the opposite direction on Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, loaded down with ornaments, offers an interior full of little chapels groaning with garlands and gilt. The Church of Sant'Irene houses the most sumptous of Lecce's Baroque.

Nearby, facing onto Piazza del Duomo, the Seminario holds an impressively ornate well, carved stone masquerading as delicately wrought iron. Next door, the balconied Palazzo Vescovile adjoins the Duomo itself, twelfth century in origin but rebuilt entirely in the mid-seventeenth century by Zimbalo. He tacked on two ornate facades and an enormous five-storeyed campanile that towers 70m above the square. The plain Castello di Carlo V, to the east of Piazza Sant'Oronzo, is currently under restoration.

BRINDISI


Have a walk in this port town and visit the Cathedral, the Provincial Archaeological Museum, S.Giovanni del Sepolcro, the Chiesa del Cristo, the Swabian Castle. And, you may have a walk to S.Maria del Casale.

Ostuni: One of the most stunning small towns of southern Italy. Situated on three hills at the southernmost edge of Le Murge, and an important Greco-Roman city in the first century AD, its old centre spreads across the highest of the hills, a white splash of sun-bleached streets and cobbled alleyways. The Chiesa delle Monacelle, on the main drag from the upper town to the main piazza, has displays on prehistory, the highlight of which is "Delia", the skeleton of a pregnant young woman found in a crouched position, her bones decorated before burial.

Vieste rises on the extreme eastern peak of Gargano between two sickle-shaped beaches. This enchanting town and the promontory on which it stands are dominated by the Castle, built by Frederic II and fortified by Charles of Anjou. The Cathedral, built on a Roman temple overlooks the white houses, which lean one upon the other, in rows, here and there broken by stair-alleys, often surmounted by flowery arches, and by very small squares.

GARGANO PROMONTORY


With its famous Foresta Umbra, a wooded area with a very rich flora (ancient pines, oaks, beeches) and fauna. Have a stop at the towns of Rodi Garganico and Peschici.

S.Giovanni Rotondo and Monte Sant'Angelo

During the Middle Ages, the beautiful Basilica of San Michele in Monte Sant’Angelo, was the destination for all the pilgrims: many famous Popes and Saints visited this site: Saint Francis, Santa Caterina of Siena, and San Tommaso D'Aquino.

A little bit further down the promontory you find San Giovanni Rotondo. Crowds of pilgrims and of tourists come from all regions of Italy and from all over the world, to pray on the Tomb of San Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, in the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Delle Grazie.
 

Alberobello

This small town hosts the famous Trulli; these gleaming habitations (whitewashed each year) are curious, rounded structures with cone-shaped, grey stone roofs. Their shape is, in part, due to the economic conditions of the time which forced the inhabitants to build and pull down their homes at regular intervals. At the time it was forbidden to build without the permission of the king. Typical of the province of Bari and Taranto, they are unique in all the world. On a hilltop amid the scent of almonds and olives, the city's historical center was declared an International Human Resource by the Unesco organization. It is made up by a hundred trulli some 5 centuries old. The trullo church is something of interest as well as the Trullo Sovrano, a very large, two-story structure.

Castel del Monte

Symbol of Frederick II, rises completely isolated, high above the countryside of surrounding Andria. Capital of Swabian architecture, the two-story Castle is Gothic in structure, linked to the incisive Apulian Romanesque tradition: it has an even octagonal design with eight large towers, also octagonal. The Castle, considered by the majority of the historians to be a hunting residence, is still the subject of studies trying to determine the purpose of its construction and use.

Other interesting towns:

Visit the cathedrals of Trani, Barletta, Bitonto and Altamura, all in Romanesque style. In Barletta also the church of S.Sepolcro and Piazza della Sfida.

In Martina Franca, the Palazzo Ducale by Bernini.

Gallipoli - a pictoresque seaside town with an Angevin castle and a baroque Cathedral.

Manfredonia - Castle and S.Maria di Siponto.

Molfetta - Cathedral.

Grottaglie is famous for its hand made and painted ceramics.

TREMITI ISLANDS


TREMITI ISLANDS (the green San Domino, the rough San Nicola and the wild Caprara) lie 22 miles from the Gargano promontory (province of Foggia) and are also known as the pearls of the Apulian Adriatic Sea. The other three isles located further out (Pianosa, Pelagosa Grande and Pelagosa Piccola) San Domino is the best organised from the touristic point of view, It is the only island where there is a wide selection of accommodation alternatives. San Domino has many grottos and is covered by a vegetation emitting a scent of pines and orange blossom. San Nicola - Its past can be read in the remains of the castle, of the abbey and of the fortified citadel dominated by the Torre dei Cavaliere. San Nicola is famous both for its very clear waters and for the rich marine-fauna.

Apulia, Italy - Travel Guide and Tourism Information
 
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