Giovinazzo and its charming fishing port

Hi, I’m Viviana and this is my hometown | #PugliaByMe

If you are planning to spend some time in Puglia, my hometown Giovinazzo could be a nice stop to add to your list, while visiting the Bari Land. Located few kilometres North from Bari, Giovinazzo is a charming peninsula surrounded by the blue Adriatic sea, with the characteristic old town set within sturdy walls, which enclose a number of architectural beauties.

Bari Land

Discovering Bari LandBari Land

 

Terra di Bari (Bari Land) is a wide geographical area enclosed between the Adriatic Sea and the Murge and which extends from north to south between the towns of Fasano and Barletta. The whole area belonged entirely to the province of Bari, but in 2004 the new province of Barletta-Andria-Trani has been constituted in the northern part of this territory. The whole area is rich in history and places to see and visit.

Alberobello

Alberobello is a small yet characteristic town located South East of Puglia in the province of Bari, (in the middle of The Itria Valley) with a population of about 10,000 people.

Alberobello is situated on two hills; the new town is located on the eastern hill and is characterized by a modern architecture. The western part is occupied by the old town (trulli) and the whole area is divided into two districts: Monti and Aia Piccola, both National Monuments. Alberobello is without question one of the most characteristic towns in Italy and is famous for its traditionally built ancient stone houses called trulli, (which since 1996 have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site).

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The origin of this type of construction is uncertain; many historians argue that its origins are linked to religious beliefs. Historically they made their first appearance in the 17th century when the Earls of Conversano (the Earls Acquaviva), at the time feudatories of the area, decided to extend their domain by building a new village. They would have to pay a tribute to the King of Naples (Aragonese family) in order to build new villages so they decided to build houses, that could be quickly destroyed in the case of royal inspection, by using only dry stones without the use of mortar.

Originally used by peasants, the trulli have in recent years become more and more one of the top major tourist attractions in Puglia, and is must see for all tourists visiting Southern Italy.

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The architecture of trulli is very simple. They are built entirely of dry stones (which is characteristic of the area) using a simple technique: the main part of the trullo is built in a circular shape and is topped by a cupola roof, which allows for the room to remain cool in summer yet is easy to heat in the winter. The walls are always white washed with white lime. The internal conical structure is made up an inner layer of limestone boulders, capped by a keystone and an outer layer of limestone slabs ensuring that the structure is watertight. The roofs are also often decorated with religious or astrological symbols; sometimes they may represent signs of the zodiac, but may also include planetary symbols or a cross among others.

The biggest trullo in the town called Sovereign Trullo and was built in 18th century. The Sovereign Trullo is different from other trulli because the building has two floors and now also hosts a museum. During the summer months it also doubles up as a theater hosting many events such as plays, musical performances, culture evenings and poetry readings.

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The landscape around Alberobello is charming and magical; it makes the town one of the most popular attractions in the region. Local handicrafts can be purchased around the old town, which include: local art, hand woven baskets, stone sculptures, ornaments made from local iron and handmade textiles. Alberobello has also a fantastic production of local wines and olive oils, and typical local dishes: the sweet almonds, and macaroons pasta among others.

Trani

Trani, with Andria and Barletta, is the capital of the Province Barletta-Andria-Trani (BAT). The city is an historic fishing port on the Adriatic coast and is located in a small natural bay. It is an ideal destination for a daily trip as it is easily reachable and is a lovely place to explore, wander and relax.

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Its name comes from Tirenum as according to legend it was founded by Tirreno, son of Diomedes.

The city is well known for the beauty of its port and an immense historical architectonic patrimony, reminiscent of a glorious past. The origin of the city dates back the prehistoric age but the first historical artifacts that have been found date back the period of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Empire the city was conquered by the Byzantine Empire and later on in medieval times it had an important economic and cultural development, thanks to its port the city was in fact a crossroads between East and West.

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It was during this time that Frederick II ordered the construction of the Swabian Castle (1233) that signed the economic peak for the city. The castle, which dominates the sea, was used as a prison but today it’s open to the public and houses exhibitions and events.

The Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino is the most important building in town and is the most famous example of Romanesque style in Puglia. The magnificent church was founded in 1097 (on the ruins of the church dedicated to Santa Maria della Scala) but was only completed in 1197 ; it is built on the water’s edge and it overlooks the sea from its spectacular position. The big facade has a rose window and beside the the church is the bell tower. The original bronze door has been removed and is displayed inside.

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The Church of Ognissanti, built by the Knights Templar, it was used as shelter and hospital by pilgrims and crusaders on their route to the Holy Land.

The traveler will also enjoy a walk around the harbor with a great view of the Cathedral. Also not be missed is the Villa Comunale, a charming garden by the sea, definitely one of the best spots in the city.

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Photo Credits ProLoco Trani 

Safari Zoo & Fasanolandia

This is a place that all children and their parents will love, this is where you can be in contact with nature and animals and have a great fun within the amusement park. This permanent structure that hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year is located just outside the town of Fasano in the Brindisi Province. It consists of the safari zoo, the wildlife pedestrian park and the amusement park known as Fasanolondia.

zoo_safariThe entire complex is the biggest in Italy and one of the biggest in Europe. Main attraction is the Zoosafari, this is a great wildlife park that houses about 1,700 specimens of 200 species. Here the animals live in absolute freedom in very large and open spaces; they can also get close to the public.

The zoo, a safari-style area, has to be visited by car: keeping all windows closed and driving alongside with lions, tigers, bears, camels and zebras is a truly exciting experience not to be missed. Stop near the giraffe section and offer them some peanuts, they will gently lean towards to your car.

zoo_safariThe wildlife pedestrian park has different sections: jump on the monkey train and be ready to be surrounded by hundreds of monkeys and baboons looking for peanuts. Visit the tropical area with snakes, turtles and alligators, the ornithological area where several species of exotic birds can be admired and the reptile-fish-insect house. Finally take a trip with the metro-zoo to the lake and its tiny islands: watch out from the train for leopards and panthers. Jump off the train and watch the seals, rhinos, bears and hippopotamus.

Fasanolandia is the amusement park located just beside the Zoosafari with over 25 attractions. Among the others, theater  cinema 4D, a dinosaur exhibition, giant water slides, a Ferris wheel, a Puglia in miniature and the new Euro-fighter  a new terrifying roller coaster. There is also a water arena that usually stages performances of artists and dolphins.

For futher information please visit the webiste: www.zoosafari.it

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is a town in the province of Bari. Its origins date back to the Neolithic period (5th millennium BC), it was known as Neapolis during ancient Greek times and became an important trading center and seaport under the Romans.

Polignano_A_MarePolignano a Mare is a pearl on the Adriatic Sea, the oldest part of the town lies on limestone cliffs and overlooks the sea. Of particular interest are his natural caves scattered around its territory where several remains of prehistoric human settlement have been found.

But most important and characteristic are the caves along its coast. Dug by the force of the sea which has shaped the rocks over the millennium, some of them are so deep that they extend right under the city center  Among these, the Palazzese cave which gives the water a spectacular green-blue color.

Polignano a Mare has often received the Blue Flag (from the Foundation for Environmental Education) for its clean bathing water and beaches.

Wandering around the old town and getting lost among its narrow streets and white stone paved alleys is probably the best way to discover this little pearl. You will get lost into this labyrinth and most of the time the alleys will lead you to small terraces at the edge of the cliffs for a spectacular view point.

polignano a marePhoto Credits: Stefano Ciccocioppo

The architecture of the historic old town is very simple and typical of Mediterranean villages with numerous outside stairways, nice arches decorated with colorful flowers.

Several monuments and buildings of historic interest are well kept in the old town. The Marchesale Arch between the Lama Monachile bridge and the Garibaldi square was the original ancient gateway to the town. The bridge of the Traiana Road, still opened which crosses Lama Monachile, the deep inlet just north of the center. Mother Church, located in the main square, it was consecrated in 1295. The ancient Judea road (the Jewish Ghetto).

Domenico Modugno, an unforgettable master of popular Italian music, was born here, and as a tribute to this great artist, a statue has been opened in his honor along the seafront.

Locorotondo

Locorotondo is a village in the province of Bari with a population of about 14,000 people, well connected by public transports and easily accessible by car, Locorotondo is certainly worth a visit while in Southern Italy.

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Its name derives from the Latin Locus Rotundus meaning round place to prove the fact that the village had a circular shape which still remains today.

Built on top of a hill and surrounded by a wall Locorotondo is certainly the most beautiful natural balcony over the Valle d’Itria. From its panoramic viewpoint, you can see thousands of trulli, a typical Mediterranean scrub forest, olive groves and vineyards that surround the Masserie.

locorotondo pugliaThe the foundation of the town dates back to around 1000 AD: the old town is made up of beautiful tiny streets and houses painted in white and built in a Baroque style and when walking through its streets you’ll see that everything is very nice and tidy and the atmosphere is almost unreal.

The Mother Church of ‘St. George the Martyr’, built between 1769 and 1821 and including 14th century bas-reliefs; the church of ‘San Rocco’, the Romanesque church of ‘Our Lady of Greece’ are a must see for visitors to the area.

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Finally, to remind that Locorotondo is famous for the production of wine, particularly white and sparkling wine which takes the name from the village and it has been officially elected from “I borghi piu’ belli d’Italia” as one of the most beautiful old villages in Italy.

Egnazia Ruins Puglia - Archaeological Site

Along the Adriatic coast between Monopoli and Savelletri is where the Archaeological Park with the ruins of Egnazia is located. This site that occupies 40 hectares of land is today the most important archaeological site that has been discovered in Puglia. The ancient Gnathis was a very important Greek-Messapian town which dated as far back as the 13th century BC.

EgnaziaPhoto Credits Flickr

The first human settlement dates as far back as the 13th century during the Bronze Age when a simple village of huts was built. In the 11th century BC during the Iron Age it was invaded by a civilization coming from the Balkans and called Iapigi. In the 8th century BC it was occupied by Messapians who ruled it until the arrival of the Romans at the end of the 3rd century BC when they declared it a municipality.

It was during the Roman domain that the town prospered and grew reaching its peak and prosperity. It played a strategic role due to the favorable position it occupied: the town could easily expand its trade when the Romans built the Traiana Road linking Rome to Brindisi and also improved the port facilities making Egnazia an important seaport.

egnazia ruins 4Photo Credits Flickr

Egnazia survived after the fall of the Roman Empire but suffered few attacks from Visigoths, Saracens and Turks. The town became very vulnerable and lost its importance; it was finally abandoned during the 10th century AD becoming a dead place.

An intense research activity started in 1912 and as of today only few sections of the area have been excavated. It is a beautiful and fascinating site to explore and a walk through these beautiful ruins will take all visitors back in time to a remote and unknown past. The archaeological park is open every day for visits and guided tours.

Many remains have been found from the Roman period as well as the Messapian era, many are well preserved. Lots of ceramics and vases are kept in the Museum located in the park. Remains from the Messapian period are the original defensive walls surrounding the whole urban area of about 40 hectares and the necropolis. Walls are 2Km long and 7m high. Scattered all over the park are also many foundation stones of ancient houses and roads; a cemetery with many graves and tombs decorated with fine frescoes.

Egnazia amphitheatre 2Photo Credits Flickr

There are also considerable remains of the Roman period: tracks of the Traiana Road, the Amphitheatre, the Forum and two Christian basilicas.

The Archaeological Museum of Egnazia located inside the park is house to many remains and documents the history of this town through the centuries.

For further information visit the website: www.egnazia.cchnet.it