Itineraries: Hotel 3 Stelle near Bari in Puglia, Monopoli
MONOPOLI Monopoli is a very nice town on the sea, famous, not only for its beaches and clean waters, but also for its baroque churches. The town was a flourishing seaport in Byzantine and Norman times. Its port was subject in the past to the pirate attacks. In the XVI century the Spanish built a castle to defend it, even now, it is still surrounded by the barricades built by the Aragonesi to protect it against attacks from the sea. Full of churches and of a series of noble residencies. Particularly famous the Cathedral of the Madonna della Madia, typical example of baroque church. Around Monopoli it’s possible to visit some rock churches, some of which have been built inside the rocks. The entire area of the town is littered with “masserie”, small farmsteads turned into fortresses because of the frequent invasions of the pirates, where small, self sufficient communities used to live.
ALBEROBELLO Known as “the capital of the trulli” Alberobello is a unique town in the world because of its typical trulli buildings. The name of this town derives from the Latin words “Silva Arboris Belli” which means “wood of the tree of war”. The word “trullo” comes from the Latin meaning “cupola” or dome. It is a kind of dwelling with a conical roof, while the base is square. The houses are built stone on stone without using any mortar or any other building material, the walls are about 2 metres high. The cone shaped roof and the walls are built with a special limestone, called “chiancole” which are found in the surrounding countryside. On the top of the roof most trulli display a decorative pinnacle. Alberobello is divided into two main parts: Rione Monti e Aia Piccola. The Monti part of the town has about 1000 trulli lined up along the sides of seven parallel streets. Here are the most primitive and ancient trulli, as for example the Siamese Trullo or the more modern church of St. Antony, also trullo-shaped. The part of the town called Aia Piccola has about 400 trulli mostly inhabitated. The trulli are situated along narrow alleyways. The name “aia”(farmyard) recalls a wide space which in ancient times was used for the corn threshing. The most important is the trullo Sovrano placed far from Rione Monti and Aia Piccola. It is composed of 12 trulli. Built in the 1st half of the 18th century, the trullo Sovrano is the only one with two floors. In 1909 Rione Monti was declared a National Monument such as Aia Piccola and the trullo Sovrano in 1930, while in 1996 UNESCO has recognized the trulli as a cultural heritage of universal value. Distance from the hotel: 25 KM
CASTELLANA GROTTE Castellana is considered the door through which it is possible to admire the treasures Apulia hides underground. The limestone group of caves of Castellana is one of the largest in Italy and certainly the most beautiful. The caves were born because of the action of an underground river, in fact, the limestone, typical of the area doesn’t allow the rainwater to settle on the surface of the land, instead it penetrates the rock and over centuries the water has dissolved the limestone and dug deep valley precipices, gorges and above all these wonderful underground caves with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. There are 2 itineraries, a shorter one (1 km)and a larger one (3 km) which ends in the “White Cave”, defined the most beautiful cave in the world, bright and shining. Distance from the hotel: 15 km
OSTUNI Perched on the top of the hill overlooking the Adriatic plain, Ostuni greets its visitors as a sight of shining beauty. Famous as the “White city” because white are all the dwellings of the typical Old Town that reminds an Arabian cashab. The town is an urban jewel where works of nature and man are interwined. First of all there are the clear blue waters of the sea, tiny bays, tiny cliffs and golden beaches. The Old Town is characterized by narrow streets, stairs and arches. There is a magnificent red 15th century cathedral whose front is a curious mixture of roman, gothic and Venetian. Well preserved are the city walls and the baroque “Guglia of Saint Oronzo”, patron saint of the town, in whose honour, in August, there is the famous “Cavalcata”, a parade of horses behind the figure of the blessed saint. There are lots of old churches but also archeological finds and splendid farmhouses. Distance from the hotel: 18 km