The town of Ostuni , about 33,000 inhabitants, is situated on three hills, at the extremity of the southern Murge.
Ostuni is known as the “white town” because of its fairy-tale charm of its historical centre , a true and fascinating tangle of winding streets with only one important road that divides the centre into two parts : the Cathedral Road. The houses of the old town are often carved into the rock, joined by arches and semi-arches that serve as support in the form of portals in a rich and a wide variety of architectural styles.
The streets of the “district land”, this is the name used to indicate the old town of Ostuni, are narrow, cobbled streets of ‘chianche’, with a repetition of steps, arches and small squares, winding to guide us through monuments and churches (including the museum of pre-classic of Murgian civilization hosted at the church, place of worship of Saint Vito martyr).
The historical centre of Ostuni is rich in religious and civil buildings of great architectural interest, such as the churches of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Jacques de Compostela, the Sanctuary of Sant’Oronzo, the Episcopal palace, the many noble palaces scattered in City.
The Feast of Sant’Oronzo is the most anticipated and important event of Ostuni. Every year on the 25th, 26th and 27th of August, are days dedicated to the Saint: it is famous and unmissable the cavalcade of Sant’Oronzo, a procession of horses and knights harnessed at the feast which parades through the streets in escort of the saint who freed the city from the plague.
La Valle d'Itria
Cisternino is a very suggestive village. It is the classic example of ‘spontaneous architecture’, where architects do not follow a plan but only human relationships to weave between the white-lime houses and the narrow streets, the tiny courtyards and exterior stairs, arches , flowering balconies and narrow streets, which represent all the poetry of the South. In the old town there are important historical buildings such as the tower and the church, overlooking the square. On the tower ,17 metres high , built by the Normans in the eleventh century, stands the blessing statue of St. Nicola to whom the is dedicated. On the façade of Mother Church, you can admire Stefano da Putignano’s sculptures and the tabernacle of the Vergin Mary of the Goldfinch, both in stone. On the tower ,17 metres high , built by the Normans in the eleventh century, stands the blessing statue of St. Nicola to whom the is dedicated . On the façade of Mother Church, you can admire Stefano da Putignano’s sculptures and the tabernacle of the Vergin Mary of the Goldfinch, both in stone. Below the church of the Purgatory , the previous church dating back about 1000 years was recently discovered. In the historic centre there are also the Bishop’s Palace, the Governor’s Palace, Pepe and Cenci’s noble houses and finally St. Lucia’s Church. Outside the walls, you can admire Amati ‘s tower and its Palace, St. Cataldo’s baroque style Church, St Just 3 km from the town, there is the Sanctuary of Hibernia’s Virgin Mary whose celebrations are held on the day after Easter. As a gift people bring “the chirrùchele,”a local cake which pagan children offered to Cybele to propitiate fertility.
The Patron Saints of the town are St. Quirico and St. Giuditta, both celebrated on August 4th.
Recently the old town of Cisternino has become famous for its butchers and theirs inns, where you can buy barbecued meat, ready to eat in the adjacent rooms or in places set up along the streets
In the heart of Murgia dei Trulli, a pretty expanse of Pinnacles announces Alberobello, with its characteristic historic center of humanity World Heritage.
The heart of the village is composed entirely of Trulli, original dry stone dwellings, whitewashed with quicklime and a cone-shaped roof made of exposed stones. Crosses, pierced hearts and zodiacal symbols decorate the roof of each trullo, which preserves its mystery intact.
Also the churches in Alberobello are in the shape of Trullo: The Church of Sant’Antonio has a Greek cross plant, where it stands a dome of 21 meters. Also worth a visit are the lesser Basilica of the Medici Saints, which houses the images of the Madonna of Loreto and the patron saints Cosma and Damiano.
The Dune Costiere
The regional natural Park Dune coastlines from Torre Canne to Torre San Leonardo is a protected natural area located in the south of Salento, in the territory of Ostuni and Fasano, both in the province of Brindisi. Extended 1,100 hectares and comprises 8 Km of coastline with beaches and dunes. The long Dunali cords, covered by Mediterranean scrub and rare juniper vegetation, separate from the Sea wetlands where freshwater springs fed by underground rivers coming from the Murge. These delicate coastal natural habitats represent staging points for numerous migratory birds in their routes between Africa and Europe. Here we find the wetlands of river Grande, River Small and river Morelli with the ancient plant of aquaculture where still are bred as a hundred years ago eel and golden mullet. The internal areas of the park are occupied by millenarian pastures and olive groves that frame historical farms that guard medieval underground crushers. Along the karst rivers of the park, the caves hidden among the dense Mediterranean maquis have housed in past centuries true rock villages. The route of the ancient via Traiana made in 109 A.D. by Emperor Traano to link Rome to Brindisi, brings together these treasures of history and nature including the Dolmen of Montalbano of the SECOND Millennium B.C. The park offers the possibility to make excursions by bicycle, on foot and on horseback.
Grotte di Castellana
The Castellana Caves are a complex of underground caves of karstic origin of speleological and touristic interest, located in the municipality of Castellana Grotte at less than 500 m. from the town. They are among the most fascinating in Italy. They open in the south-eastern Murge at 330 m.s.l.m. The underground cavities extend for a length of about 3 kilometers. The natural entrance is represented by a huge chasm sixty meters deep called the grave, a local dialect term to indicate a large chasm. From here you can reach the white cavern. Everything consists of beautiful stalactitic and stalagmitic concretions and galleries intersperse with the sudden opening of beautiful caves. The longest itinerary (3 Km) takes two hours and develops between caves and chasms to which have been given mythological or fantastic names, where it is possible to see places and formations with the most extravagant names such as the Stalagmitic group of the Cyclops, the Pillars of Hercules, the Lupa , the cavern of the Owl, the crib, the Duomo of Milan with its Madonna, the Tower of Pisa, the red corridor, the canopy, up to the beautiful white grotto, the last and most beautiful cave of the complex that surprises the splendor of alabaster. A first attempt at exploration was made at the end of the EIGHTEENTH century by some local youths. The discovery of the entire system of chasms and cavities that compose the complex dates from January 23, 1938 by the Speleologist Franco Anelli in the context of a campaign of Speleological researches.
Scavi di Egnazia
The archaeological site
The archaeological site of Egnazia, inserted in a naturalistic-environmental context, is one of the most interesting of Apulia. The city was very important in the past for its geographic position; Thanks to the presence of the port and the Via Traiana, because of its strategic position it was the center of Trades and trades.
The history of Egnazia winds through settlements of the Bronze Age, other testimonies of finds bring us back to the Iron Age, to arrive at the messapic phase that will cease with the Roman occupation dating from the third century. Bc.
The first excavations were carried out in the early twentieth century.
The archaeological park of the excavations of Egnazia is constituted by the numerous finds of the ancient city of Gnathia.
The Acropolis includes a system of arcades that overlooked a large irregular square, a monumental center formed after the Roman era developed on the Via Traiana, the main city artery.
The museum is located outside the walls.
Zoosafari of Fasano
From Masseria agriturismo Ostuni De Michele we reach in a few minutes the Zoosafari of Fasano, the largest wildlife park in Italy, which houses a huge number of animal species that can satisfy the tastes of all the lovers and curious of the fauna and that She will love and entertain young and old alike. Inside the zoo the circuit is walkable with its own car. A path of several kilometers where you feel like diving into a real safari in Africa, discovering many beautiful animals in absolute freedom. Elegant antelope and zebras, huge elephants, giraffes and bison and of course His Majesty the Lion, the king of the Savannah. The safari continues to visit small carnivores and birds from the park, the lake of the great mammals, the Monkey village, the tropical hall, the Ornithological exhibition. Obviously the adventure can also be experienced on the Metrozoo, a small train that will take you to the “Lake of the great mammals” in which live brown bears, polar bears, seals, rhinos and hippos. Another armored train will take you to the Monkey village, absolutely awesome experience. The adventure continues between didactic paths such as the miniature Puglia and the botanical path. Still you can visit exhibitions and museums and enjoy a puppet show, then finish the walk in the zoo with a wonderful show in the annex Dolphinarium.
Fasanolandia is the amusement park attached to the Zoosafari. This park is rich in more than 25 great attractions that satisfy the tastes of visitors of all ages, to which there are added performances of variety and illusionism in the Great Multipurpose Theatre.
Nicknamed “La Firenze del Sud”, Lecce is the capital of Salento. From the strong messapic roots and called Lupiae under the Roman dominion, the city welcomes with the splendour of its Baroque that peeps in the portals of the palaces and the facades of the many churches that wind along the streets enclosed by the three ancient gates of access To the city: Porta Rudiae, Porta San Biagio and Porta Napoli.
The common denominator of the Baroque exuberance peculiar to the city is the Leccese stone, so soft and crumple that the master stonemats could make refined embroideries that reach the apex of beauty in the façade of the Basilica of Santa Croce, Then continue in the sacred embrace of the spectacular Piazza Duomo where stands the bell tower and overlook the bishopric and the beautiful palace of the seminary.
Strength and grandeur, however, characterize his castle rebuilt by order of Charles V on a project of Gian Giacomo Dell’acaya, while the Roman amphitheatre adjacent to the central Piazza Sant’Oronzo gives a suggestive overlooking the history that has crossed the City.
Martina Franca is placed at the extreme edge of the Murge dei Trulli, at the crossroads between Taranto, Bari and Brindisi. The old Martina is one of the few historical centres that have come to us through the centuries almost intact. Martina Franca is a real triumph of the Baroque Art which characterizes both the civil and the sacred architecture, also if with different details, in comparison with the baroque style of Lecce. Martina Franca is also a town with strong folk traditions and cuisine. From the cultural point of view, the most important event is the Festival of ‘ Valle d’ Itria’.
The city of Bari, and its two faces, is a fascinating discovery: the elegant Murattian quarter and the hypnotic old Bari, lying on the Adriatic.
It serves as a gateway to the old city, the magnificent Swabian Castle, crowned by towers, once a defensive manor, then a Renaissance residence. Crossing the Arco del Pellegrino, you arrive in the heart of the Cittadella Nicolaiana, with the Basilica dedicated to the patron saint, a fine example of Apulian Romanesque, and the Romanesque Cathedral of San Sabino, from the baroque crypt.
Bari Murattiana, noble palaces such as the Petruzzelli Theater, the Piccinni Theater and Palazzo Fizzarotti parade in the nineteenth century, while the underground holds hidden treasures, rupestrian and hypogeum churches carved into the rock, such as the Temple of San Giorgio, the hypogeum of Madia Diana. the “Jewish” hypogeum.
Capital of the region, Bari has a fundamental role in relations with the countries overlooking the Mediterranean, thanks to the strategic function of the port, the airport and the Fiera del Levante. Do not miss the celebrations of St. Nicholas, patron saint, in December and May, with the Historical Procession of the Caravel.
History It is announced by the profile of the castle and by the ancient walls, the beautiful Monopoli, which is reflected in the Adriatic sea.
The 99 city districts stretch out over a flat area, which is embraced at a glance by the splendid viewpoint of Loggia del Pilato, on the road to the Selva di Fasano, a natural terrace overlooking a landscape characterized by fortified farms, churches, rock settlements and villas.
The symbol of the city is the Castle of Charles V, which blesses from the promontory of Punta Penna, now home to exhibitions and conferences. The fortified farms, well preserved or carefully restored, are located in the heart of the marina, in the low hills and in the flat hinterland. . In the countryside stands the Lama degli Ulivi Botanical Garden, with caves, rupestrian churches and over 2000 Mediterranean plant species.
Among the anniversaries, the celebrations for the Saints Cosmas and Damian, the first weekend of June, and the re-enactment of the landing of the raft with the icon of the Madonna della Madia, on August 14th and December 16th.
Polignano a Mare
The Adriatic Pearl
Polignano a Mare is a charming and picturesque town, south of the town of Bari. It stands overlooking the sea, with beautiful and wonderful caves.
You can enter into the old town , still surrounded by ancient walls, through the Arch of the Old Port.
Mr ‘volare’, the famous Mr Domenico Modugno,the master of the Italian popular song, was born in Polignano a Mare. You will be able to immerse yourself in a breathtaking scenery of white little houses
, made of simple construction with balconies, adorned with coloured flowers and terraces overlooking the sea.