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APULIA IN 4 DAYS Print E-mail

1° DAY – ALBEROBELLO - OSTUNI


After breakfast, free morning in Ostuni called “The White City”.
Afternoon visit the Alberobello historic center.

OSTUNI



the "Citta Bianca" is another beautiful white washed town on a hill (3 hills to be exact) with ambling streets, stairways and alleys. The houses look like they’re piled on top of each other…..
At the top of the town is the 15th century Gothic duomo. The façade has columns with neat doorways and rose windows. Inside the interior is Baroque and there are fine paintings including one by Jacopo Palma. Since you’re up here, enjoy the view over the town and the Adriatic Sea. Check out the doorway of the Chiesa di Santo Spirito (Renaissance).
The castello/castle ruins (12th century) are now part of the Bishop’s Palace. The Palazzo Ducale is in the Baroque style. Other churches to visit are:

Chiesa Santa Maria Maddalena (Baroque);
the Chiesa di Sant’Oronzo is on the Piazza della Liberta (the main square in town);
San Biagio and the Chiesa d’Annunziata churches are worth a look too.

Relaxing at the beach is another diversion and the beach communities are nice. Saturday is market day in Ostuni.


ALBEROBELLO

 

This is one unique and interesting town! The entire town of Alberobello and the Trulli district are worth the visit. You’ve never seen anything like it!
Alberobello is the Trulli capital. Trulli are whitewashed stone buildings, circular in shape with conical lids made of limestone (think like an igloo) — no mortar is used in these buildings. Quite often you will see symbols painted in white on the top of the cones. The tops of the cones have holes for smoke to escape (think teepee).
The people in the area are very proud of this architecture and you will see it repeated throughout Puglia.

 The "Trullo Sovrano" is unique among Trulli as it is the only two-storey trullo. It is located at Piazza Sacramento (follow the signs).
Check out the Trulli church — Sant’Antonio. Thursday is market day in Alberobello.



2° DAY- ALBEROBELLO – MONOPOLI – POLIGNANO – MASSERIE

After breakfast, departure for excursion from Savvelletri or Monopoli surrounding the beautiful coast till Polignano in case the water is not Good we will do an excursion to Castellana Grotte for visit the caves.
Lunch in Alberobello. In the afternoon little excursion to ancient Masseria. And in the evening eno -gastronomic workshop in Cantina.

MONOPOLI


reveals a distinguished past. From the Greek “Mono-polis” , unique town, it was a little village of the ‘Peucezia’ Apulia next to another important village of the Land, ‘Gnatia’. In 545 d.C. the inhabitants of Gnatia reached Mono-polis after Totila, king of the Goths, ordered the distruction of their whole village. In the following centuries a great part of Southern Italy saw the settlements of Normans, Byzantines and Swabians. In 1484, with the settlement of Venetians, Mono-polis knew a period of remarkable economic growth thanks to the development of its harbour activities above all. The harbour was considered to be the sole safe and equipped refuge between Bari and Brindisi and an import-export trade centre of a great number of goods, because of its strategic position. In 1530, after the end of the Venetian domination, the Emperor tried to make Monopoli a Barony or a Marquisate, but he faced the firm opposition of the people of Monopoli, who decided to redeem themselves, paying 51000 gold ducats to the Emperor. In 1545 Monopoli became a free town again under the spanish domination. It then acquired and enlarged a circuit of defensive walls and towers and the Marquese Don Ferrante Loffredo, to order of King Carl V, restored the ancient castel of Enrico IV and Federico II. The spanish domination, which ended in 1713, was replaced by the Austrian one which ruled Southern Italy late till 1734, when the Bourbon settled the Reign of Naples. Subsequently, Monopoli was part of the Reign till 1860, when it was enclosed in the Reign of Italy.


POLIGNANO


 

is situated on a steep rocky cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The cliffs contain a number of natural caves which were inhabited in prehistoric times. During the Middle Ages the city was fortified. Today the beautifully preserved historical centre is made of a series of alleyways that lead to terraces with breathtaking views over the Adriatic Sea.
THINGS TO SEE The Mother Church built in 1295 with a square bell tower. The interior is mostly in Renaissance style with a Baroque presbytery. The Benedictine Abbey still has its original three-naved plan with the central nave surmounted by a line of domes. The exterior of the Abbey is enhanced by a beautiful XVI century loggia.

CASTELLANA GROTTE


40 Kms south-east of Bari, 20the busy, industrial and administrative capital of Apulia, lies the little town of Castellana whose origins go back even further than the 10th century. For a number of years now, the town has been called Castellana-Grotte and is the most important tourist attraction in Apulia, as well as one of the most famous in the whole of southern Italy. It owes its rapid and lucky notoriety to the discovery on January 23rd, 1938 of a vast system of natural underground caves. The Grottos of Castellana represent one of the most important series of natural underground caves in Italy and Europe, a reputation gained not only because of their size but above all for the spectacularity of the natural galleries and the prodigious wealth of crystalline concretions


MASSERIE


 

In the Murge landscape the masserie have a special importance. They are typical buildings whose architecture strongly developed during the passage between the Middle Age economy and the Modern one. It was in the XVII cent. that the rural organization changed. Even the social relatioships between the landowners and the peasants changed and, in the end of the XIX cent., there was a clear distinction between country and town. In Medieval Times, the first hamlets of rural houses formed: they were called masserie and represented the centre of an economic structure around which the work was developed. This work was in particular cattle- breeding. At the end of the XIX cent., when the last masserie were built or expanded, the economic system changed again, and there was a passage from cattle- breeding production to vine cultivation. The masseria became a structure that defended production and property, so they fortified it to make it a safe place from external dangers. There are different kinds of masserie: - court masseria. It has walls around it, to defend the estate. - With trullo roofs. Houses and barns have roofs with the shape of trulli and they have different sizes.
Some examples of this are:
Masseria Ortolini and Masseria Ferrara.
With trullo and “pignon”covering: the house roof has a “pignon” shape, that is a steep roof, and the other buildings have trullo roofs. - With linear building: the masseria is made up of a unique building, and the houses are joined to other buildings. - With lodge shape: this building developed in the XIX cent. and it marks a distinction between the Lord’s house and the farm. (ex. Luco, Mita).


3° DAY – ALBEROBELLO - MATERA

After breakfast, the excursion to the world heritage town of Matera. With a guide you will explore the troglodyte age of Matera . Return to Alberobello .


MATERA


 

Matera is a wonderful town and has been called the most fascinating city in southern Italy. It is both beautiful and intriguing.
It is a town that UNESCO has proclaimed as a world heritage site.
The town is famous for its Sassi or caves from the Paleolithic age (dating back to 1500 B.C.). The caves are divided into the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano. At one time the people of Matera lived in the cave dwellings. The town actually sits on the edge of a deep gorge and there are caves on either side of the gorge. In the 1950s the people living in the caves were forced to move out and find new homes. The area was then and continues to be taken care of and preserved. I enjoyed walking and climbing the hills and steps to see the many different homes and churches (in the caves). Make sure you walk the Strada dei Sassi. Around one corner there’s a church, then an artist’s studio, a small tourist shop, a little snack shop — the town truly is preserving these caves (work goes on at all times). It is a sight like none other - very unique. The churches were carved in to the rocks and you can see frescoes on the walls of some of the cave churches (Santa Maria Di Idris and Santa Lucia alle Malve). Other churches to see are: Santa Maria della Palomba, La Vaglia, The Madonna della Tre Porte and Santa Barbara. If you go in the duomo at the top of town you can pass through that church to get to the church within a church (Santa Maria di Constantinopoli). Matera's other attractions include the Church of St. Francesco d'Assisi and the nearby Grotta dei Pipistrelli -- or "Cave of the Bats." Market day in Matera is on Saturday.


4° DAY – ALBEROBELLO – VALLE D’ITRIA

 


After breakfast, excursion of Valle D’Itria.

MARTINA FRANCA

Martina Franca is known as the Baroque White City. To me, it’s like a wedding cake — set on a hill, ornate, white, filled with twisting streets — very pretty — picturesque. The town overlooks the Valley of Itria, and as you look out over the countryside you’ll see the typical cone houses - Trulli. Martina Franca dates back to the 10th century. The Ducal Palace/Palazzo Ducale is located on the Piazza Roma. It is a 17th century building that is used now as city offices. The palazzo was built upon the ruins of the Orsini Castle. You can go inside and see the frescoes on the third floor (painted by Domenico Carella). From the outside you’ll find the wrought iron balconies, the windows and decorations very beautiful. The Collegiata San Martino was built in the 17th century. It was built on top of the Capella di San Martino (11th century). The façade has four statues of Sts. Peter, Paul, Giuseppe and Giovanni Battista. It is a Baroque building inside and out. Do go in — it’s beautiful. In the Great Chapel you’ll find frescoes (The Last Supper) by Domenico Carella. The Arc of St. Stefano was built in honor of St. Martin (and his miracle). It’s a beautiful arch with an equestrian statue of St. Martin. The style here is also Baroque. Wednesday is market day in Martina Franca.

THE VALLEY, TRULLI AND MASSERIE


 

One of the most touristic attractive areas of Puglia and one of the most beautiful landscapes all over the region is the wonderful Valle d’Itria, the heart of the Murgia of trulli , whose territory includes the towns of: Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Alberobello, Ostuni, Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica. It is a wonderful Karst swamp (because of the Karst nature of local rocks) on the south-east of the Murge upland. lThe Valle d’Itria is very rich in history, art and culture. It is a green sward studded with typical and ancient cone buildings, the famous “trulli”; with a great variety of dry-stone little walls that surround little vines; with some white masserie, some ancient hollows and small green valleys. The story:The medieval Santa Maria d’Itria or Idria monastery was on the border with the territory of Monopoli and it belonged to the Basilian monks of Casole (or of the famous San Nicola di Casole cenoby, founded in 1099 by the greek monk Giuseppe, following San Basilio rule, in the Land of Otranto). S.Maria d’Idria basilian settlement was not very wide, compared to Sant’Angelo de Grecis feud (Land of Bari, in the territory of Monopoli), that also depended by S.Nicola di Casole basilian monastery. Moreover, S.Maria d’Idria settlement was in a rupestrian church (1200), in some room used as farms and in a contiguous cave-chapel, called Santa Maria d’Itria, where there was a late Byzantine fresco of Madonna Odegitria ( the wayfarers guide). There are few archaeologic and documentary remainings of this site, except for some news that are written in Isidoro Chirulli’s book, “Chronologic History of Martina”. Now there is a Capuchin convent and a church with the same name and, next to them, there is also a “ Villaggio del Fanciullo ” (an orphanage, built for the will of Dott.Alfonso Motolese). Valle d’Itria landscape is embellished by two ancient churches: San Donato church and the Providence one. The last one is a little church of 1561 (at that time it was called “Santo Antonio seu de Padua”), that was restored thanks to the parishioners contribution and it was then consecrated to Santa Maria della Provvidenza in the end of the XVII cent.
 
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