Situated on the top of a cliff,in a part of the Adriatic coast rich in coves and caves created by the waves,Polignano a Mare is a perfect mix of historical and environmental beauty.Its origins are very old,but it was under the Romans that the ancient Neapolis developed: it became a statio of the ancient Via Traiana,that passed on the old bridge from which I've taken this picture.
The Old Town,with its white houses straight down to the blue sea,is very beautiful and full of people,especially during the summer,and it is characterized by some panoramic points from which it's possible to enjoy a great view on the sea.Its heart is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II,seat of the Palazzo dell'Orologio and of the Chiesa Matrice.This church,built in the XIII century and dedicated to the Assunta,was for many years a bishop's residence;here it's possible to admire a medieval aristical crib by Stefano da Putignano,and a polyptych by the Venetian painter Bartolomeo Vivarini (1445) dedicated to the patron saint San Vito.
Polignano a Mare is also famous for its ice-cream parlours,the best of which is the Bar Turismo (near Piazza Aldo Moro,Via Sarnelli):during the summer,between 5 and 7 pm,the city is full of people that comes back from the beach.But there are a lot of people during the night too,thanks to the many locals of the Old Town and the restaurants nearby.
Because of its cliffs and coves,the access to the sea is difficult and there aren't sandy (except the little beach in the picture) or equipped beaches,so it's necessary to reach Monopoli-Capitolo(about 10 Km).However it isn't impossible to go to the sea,in fact many people decide every day to take the sun on the rocks near Polignano.Personally,I often go to the sea in the little harbour (very very little!) of San Vito,a small suburb 2-3 Km far from Polignano dominated by a great Abbey: here the sea is very clean and it's possible to stay on the rocks or on the breakwaters of the pier (but there are a lot of people!).But I understand that,for a tourist,it isn't easy...
Castel del Monte is protected by the UNESCO as a World Heritage of Humanity.
It's a castle built on a hill near Bari in 13th century by the Emperor Federico II di Svevia,maybe as an hunting residence.Unguarded since the XVII century,it was deprived of sculptures and marbles,ransomed by the State in 1876,and then restored.
It is characterized by an unusual octagonal form with 8 octagonal angular towers,an harmonious mix of architectural elements from different cultures(classical,Muslim and northeuropean),and by a particular atmosphere that enraptures the observer.
It's impossible to lose this masterpiece of the medieval architecture,which reflects the humanism of its founder Federico II,full of symbolic significances connected to the esotericism,astrology and alchemy,the real function and the structure of which are still a mystery.
It's also rapresented on the Italian 1 eurocent coin.
All the infos about opening time,tickets' prices,how to reach Castel del Monte are available on the internet site below.
The"Palazzo della Provincia" of Bari,designed by Luigi Baffa and situated on the Lungomare Nazario Sauro,houses the Pinacoteca Provinciale (Provincial Art Gallery),in which are exposed not only a great collection of Apulian paintings from XI to XX century (among the others,Saverio Altamura,Giuseppe de Nittis and Francesco Netti of the XIX century),but also a medieval division with sculptures and icons,and a division dedicated to the Venetian painting of the XV and XVI centuries,with works by Antonio and Bartolomeo Vivarini,Giovanni Bellini,Paris Bordone,Veronese("Madonna in gloria con le Sante Orsola e Caterina") and Tintoretto("Cristo che appare a San Rocco tra gli appestati").
Guided visits are available.
All the infos are in the internet site below (Italian language).
Bari ovelooks the sea,it's strictly linked to the sea,it has a big port...but what about the beaches??
There is only one public beach in Bari,Pane e Pomodoro (in reality there's another one,Torre Quetta,actually closed because of remediation works),situated on the southern Lungomare,about 2 Km from the city center and reachble with the public bus-navetta B (from Piazza Massari and Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza to Pane e Pomodoro): it's a good and equipped place (parking,shower,bar,volley and soccer fields,etc...),but during the summer it's very crowded.
But it's also a discussed place because of some pollution problems,that now seem finally solved.
There are also some private beaches in the northern part of the city(near the Fiera del Levante area),and in the small suburbs of Palese-Santo Spirito and Torre a Mare.
The sea of the province is better...but it can be a solution if you want to find a rapid cool in a hot summer day!
Torre a Mare is a small nice suburb situated in the southern part of Bari,few kilometers far from the city center.
During the summer,it becomes one of the centers of the Bari's nightlife thanks to its ice-creams parlours,good fish-restaurants,pizzerie,bars,etc...and there's also a nice disco-bar on the sea.But during the day (in the afternoon) it's very animated too,there's a lot of people that goes there to take an ice-cream or a coffee after a day spent on the beach,or simply to stay together.
Personally,I like very very much this place
Bari is one of Italy's gateways to Albania with Durres being one of the key destinations from its port. One of the interesting things about coming to this city, then, is spotting signs in the unusual Albanian language and hearing it spoken in the streets and parks. Of the ships that ply between Bari and Durres, some 90 per cent of the passengers are Albanians giving some idea of how many pass through or stay here.
As well as tourist information and shops signs, I saw this commemorative sign on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Written in Albanian on one side and Italian on the other, it remembers the assassination of Albanian 'writter and patriot' Luigj Gurakuqj in the city in 1925. Gurakuqj was involved in Albania's movement for independence and killed by his own cousin, a member of the Zogu regime. An interesting and even intriguing slice of history and not one I saw in any book about Bari. It goes to show the city's long connection to Albania, just hours away across the water.
Polignano a mare (polignano on the see - there is no other polignano, btw) is a gourgeous village next to Bari, approximately 20 km in south direction.
Once you are there you can't miss the wonderfull sightseeing from the old town terrace.
But the most unbeatable feature of Polignano is tha Ice Cream (with I and C in capitals letter).
From the main square you have several possibility. I would suggest Bar Turismo, Bella Blu and Il Mago del Gelo.
Details will follow....sometimes.
Wander around the medieval,narrow streets of the old town.There you'll also find and the two most important churches of Bari:the 'Cattedrale di San Sabino'(whose bell tower dominates the town's skyline) and the 'Basilica di San Nicola'.Saint Nicola is after all the patron saint of the town.In the picture you can see the former depicted.
A trip back to the 16th century....
A Polish tourist visiting Bari will always think of BONA SFORZA - Queen of Poland and Dutchess of Bari - the beloved queen. She became wife of the Polish king Sigismund the Old in 1517. In the 16th century, Cracow was under the influence of Italian culture which was further reinforced by the king's marriage. However, we owe something else to her. She enriched our monotonous diet introducing cauliflower, celery, leeks, asparagus, lettuce, and artichokes into cultivation. Hence, the Polish word for 'vegetables' - 'wloszczyzna' - means... 'of Italian origin'.
Bari has a very small but remarkably good art museum, the Pinacoteca, tucked away on an upper floor of some sort of municipal building on the big highway along the harbor. Go see them. They'll be glad to see you.
The Basilica di San Nicola in the heart of the old city, was consecrated in 1197.
It is open: daily 9am–1pm & 4–7pm
The cattedral is not far from the Basilica di San Nicola in the Old City. It's built at the end of the twelfth century.
It is open: daily 8.30am-1pm & 4-7pm