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A journey through the wonders of Puglia
A journey through the wonders of Puglia
The Barion Hotel is located in a highly favourable geographical position for reaching the main towns in the regions of Puglia and Basilicata: Trani, Castel del Monte, Alberobello, Ostuni, Castellana Grotte, Polignano, Lecce and Matera can all be reached in less than 2 hours drive from the hotel.
What to see near
the Barion Hotel
Puglia is an artistic and cultural region that is rich in hidden treasures. It is a land that preserves important fragments of the past with its trulli (traditional dry stone huts) and its farms. It is a destination that attracts tourists and numerous film productions alike with beautiful and breathtaking landscapes.
A dip into the crystal blue sea
What are the best beaches near the Barion Hotel? There are a range of different places at hand, each with its own distinctive features. Polignano a Mare has received the Bandiere Blu (“Blue Flag”) award and boasts some fine cliffs overlooking the sea. Monopoli and Ostuni feature some sumptuously white beaches with secluded bays and bathing resorts including all the most in-demand services for tourists.
The Mediterranean Gateway to the East
Bari is an ancient Mediterranean crossroads and today has preserved its heritage as a seaside city. In 1087, 62 sailors from Bari smuggled the remains of St. Nicholas from Myra and brought them to their city, and the splendid Basilica in the Apulian Romanesque style, dating from the 11th-13th century, was dedicated to the cult of this miracle healer, the protector of young women and sailors.
The interior consists of a nave and two aisles divided by granite columns. In the right aisle you descend to the Crypt, where you will see the Miraculous Column and the tomb of St. Nicholas below the central altar. Every year from the 7th to the 9th of May, the people of Bari remember the naval expedition. On the 6th of December, the patron saint’s day for St. Nicholas in Bari, the occasion is celebrated with charming archaic rituals, such as the pilgrimage of the young women searching for their husband.
Walking through the old town from the Basilica to the Cathedral of San Sabino along via del Carmine you can admire the cloisters, convents and churches of various communities: from the Venetian St. Mark’s to the Orthodox Church of St. John Chrysostom. Bari is a city that is not just profoundly in touch with its roots, it also has a very modern and glamorous side to its tourism, as it is the home to events, shows and concerts featuring internationally renowned artists, who choose the Petruzzelli theatre as a prestigious stage for their performances.
Mola di Bari
A medieval town overlooking the sea
Mola di Bari is a bustling town on the Adriatic, around 20km south-east of Bari, and 5 metres above sea level. It is Graeco-Roman in origin, and the history of the town is connected to the sea and its port, due to the strategic role that it played during the era of the Crusades, as it was the embarkation point for the East.
The name “Mola” is said to derive from the word for pier, as the first houses in the town were constructed around the town’s jetty. The historical centre preserves some valuable artistic and architectural heritage with the Castle, the main church and the Niccolò Van Westerhout Municipal Theatre. The recent redevelopment of the promenade makes the town a desirable place for a relaxing evening stroll among the many bars and restaurants on the seafront or for a bicycle ride along the cycle paths.
However, it is the traditions and typical folklore of a vibrant land that are the true attraction of this town. The Sagra del Polpo, the Octopus Festival that takes place in the last weekend of July, is the main summer event and attracts a great number of tourists every year.
Polignano a Mare
A daydream nestled among the rocks
This spectacular resort is perched on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. With its traditional white houses, the historical centre overlooks the sea and rises above a cliff and one of the most famous and beautiful caves in the area: The Grotta Palazzese.
As well as being the birthplace of one of the most famous Italian singers, Domenico Modugno, the town was also chosen as a romantic location to film the wedding of the actors of the renowned soap opera Beautiful for the 25th anniversary of the television series. In September, Polignano will again feature as part of the programme for the world-famous Red Bull Cliff Diving event.
The Caves of Castellana
The magic of an underground passageway
The Caves of Castellana form part of Puglia’s geographical heritage. It is one of the most impressive cave complexes in Europe and reaches an average depth of 70 metres over a distance of 3 km.
The temperature is constant throughout the year at around 14°-18° degrees with a humidity rate of over 80%, and starting from the ponor is a trail rich in stalagmites, stalactites, hanging curtains and columns. This incredible place is also an exclusive location for entertainment events such as “Hell in the Cave“, where scenes from Dante’s Inferno are played out.
The land of the Trulli
Alberobello has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, thanks to its monumental network of 1,400 trulli. Trulli are huts made from overlapping dry stone, with a whitewashed base and cone-shaped roof depicting symbols and pinnacles in various forms, and divided into the two districts of Monti and Aia Piccola.
Walking through the narrow and winding streets, you reach Trullo Sovrano, the largest trullo containing two floors and an internal staircase.
The trulli proliferate throughout the surrounding countryside, particularly Noci, Martina Franca and Locorotondo. Locorotondo is arguably one of the most beautiful towns in Italy and dominates the entire Itria Valley.
Among the picturesque alleyways, enclosed by the white walls of the houses, are the Cummerse, the old rectangular settlements with sloping roofs made of flat rock shingles.
Trani and Castel del Monte (Andria)
Churches and fortresses with a unique and distinctive style
One of the most thrilling experiences of Apulian life is a visit to the Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino in Trani, a dazzling example of Romanesque architecture. The Cathedral consists of three overlapping churches and is suspended over the sea, it is a symbol of the unique character of this stretch of land that looks towards the East. At Trani we also recommend a visit to the ancient synagogue, that testifies to the presence of the Jewish community in the city daring back to the diaspora of Tito, when the Jews took refuge in this area of the Mediterranean as it offered the same opportunities for development and a landscape that was partly similar to Israel.
Not far from here and situated in Andria is one of the most famous monuments from the age of the Emperor Frederick II: Castel del Monte is the only European example of an octagonal castle. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in part because of its undeniably esoteric charm.
Come to Puglia to discover the legends and mysteries that make it a favourite destination for the most curious travellers.
The pearl of the baroque
Lecce is known as the “Florence of the South” for the beauty and decorative richness of its palaces and churches, and it is the perfect place for an aimless stroll, as it is replete with hidden treasures.
Such hidden treasures include the churches that are so distinctive of the city’s architectural style. There is the Basilica of Santa Croce, the result of over three centuries of work by three separate architects that features hundreds of mythological symbols and figures, the Church of St. Matthew, with its spectacular façade that is convex at the bottom and concave at the top, the Church of Santa Chiara, with its octagonal form and papier-mâché ceiling, the Church of Santa Irene, with two Corinthian columns on the portal, the Church of the Rosary, with its magnificent façade decorated with bold pinnacles and flowered tufts, and the Church of the Madonna del Carmine, near to the adjacent Carmelite monastery and featuring ornaments, decorations and monumental statues that bring the three orders to life.
Any first-class itinerary would not be complete without a visit to Piazza Duomo, the living room of the people Lecce and a square that is surrounded by the Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, the Seminary Palace (dating from the the late seventeenth century), the current Diocesan Museum, and the Baroque bell tower.
It is the perfect place for losing oneself in while browsing the shops of the Salento papier-mâché makers, and the trendy boutiques of the old city centre.
The World Heritage Stone City
Matera was recently named the European Capital of Culture for 2019 and displays some unmistakable traces of the prehistoric era, which is why, although it is located in the region of Basilicata, we would very much recommend it for all history lovers.
The cathedral dates back to the twelfth century and is the most important church in the city as well as the seat of the Archbishop. The Sassi di Matera cave dwellings in the centre of the city have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their unique characteristics.