Puglia (Apulia) is a region located in the south of Italy, bordered by the East by the Adriatic Sea, the Ionian Sea in the south-east and in the south by the Otranto Straits and the Taranto Bay. Its southern side, known as Salento, forms the “Achilles heel” on Italy’s boots. Bordering the regions of Molise in the north, Campania (with the capital of Naples) and Basilicata in the south west. The relief of the region is very varied, it hosted north Mount Gargano. The capital of Puglia region is the city of Bari.
The trip we are proposing today is designed to start from Bari, a modern and crowded port with an interesting historical center, continuing through several famous cities for their Romanesque churches, the most attractive being in Puglia, but also for the Emperor’s Fortress Frederic al-II, Castelo del Monte.
Start your walk in Bari, whose modern harbor and unattractive suburbs open towards Citta Vecchia, an enchanting labyrinth of alleys and alleys, where the city’s main tourist attractions are. Of all, Cattedrale di San Sabino (end of the XIIIth century) and Basilica di San Nicola (1087) both fascinating examples of Romanesque architecture that made Puglia famous to the world.
This architectural style has flourished in this region for several reasons. First and foremost, due to the strong influence over several centuries of the Norman, Suabi and Angels rulers, who provided the money and the necessary stability for the construction of these buildings, which ended in some cases hundreds of years. Secondly, this region has been the crucible of many cultures, which has led to the emergence of buildings that have skillfully combined architectural styles such as Roman, Normand, Byzantine, Lombard, Arabic. Thirdly, Puglia was at a crossroads of many religious currents, being located near major pilgrimage routes and ports where pilgrims and crusaders were going to the Holy Land.
After exploring Bari’s old historic center, head west onto the SS16 cornice until you reach Trani, a blooming port with houses painted white, where a Romanesque cathedral is built, a building well-known for its gorgeous Settlement – near the sea but also for the bronze portals of the Xll century. The cathedral is dedicated to San Nicola Pellegrino, a less well-known local saint who is said to have reached Trani on the back of a dolphin.
Explore the village before re-driving the road, SS16, to Barletta 0, a little monotonous village animated by the Roman cathedral Chiesa del Santo Sepolcro (Corso Garibaldi at the intersection with Corso Vittorio Emanuele) and Colosso Corso Vittorio Emanuele) the largest bronze statue in the world. From Barletta, head south to SS170 until you reach Andria; From here, following the road signs, you can reach Castel del Monte.
Castel del Monte is one of the most monumental and most mysterious tourist attractions in southern Italy. This immense fortress, visible in a radius of several kilometers, is located at an altitude of 540 meters above the Apulian plain and the high limestone hills – a region known as Le Murge; The purpose and architectural style of this cathedral have amazed all generations of history and scholars.
Built between 1229-1240, this cathedral is the work of Frederic II, Roman Emperor and one of the most prominent personalities of the Middle Ages. Everything in this construction betrays an obsession for mathematical harmony and, in particular, for figure eight. The building has an octagonal base, an orthogonal yard and eight orthogonal towers, each of which has two floors with eight rooms each. Some claim that figure eight is the symbol of the crown and union between God and mankind; Others claim that the shape and proportions of the castle reflect a sort of heavenly astrological configuration; Others believe that this building was a simple hunting residence or a shelter for pilgrims who started looking for the Holy Grail. There is no doubt that it must have had a particular meaning: it is the only orthogonal fortress of the 200 castles in the form of a quadrilateral commanded by Frederick II after his return from the Crusade.
After visiting the fortress, when you reach the intersection at the foot of the castle, turn left onto the SS170 road and head towards Ruvo di Puglia (marked by road signs), whose cathedral is also an impressive example of the Romanian style Developed in Puglia. In ancient Greece and at the beginning of the Roman Empire, this city was famous for the combination of red and black ceramics (also called Apulian ceramics); Some such objects are exhibited at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale latta. From Ruvo, SS98 goes east to Bitonoto 0, a small town surrounded by olive groves, whose Romanesque cathedral has some similarities to the Trani.