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The stay at Santarosa Relais blends well with the richness of itineraries in the area, even within one hour: Alberobello (UNESCO), Locorotondo, Cisternino, Ostuni, Castel del Monte (UNESCO) and Frederick's castles, Matera with its Sassi (UNESCO), Taranto and Metaponto with museums and archaeological sites of Ancient Greece.
Depending on the season itineraries can be enriched with the unique events held in the area of the Murgia, including: the Rites of Holy Week in many cities, the patron festivals, fairs, typical product presentations.
In Noci: literary meetings and presentation of new books festival, on May 3 in honor of St. Mary, Night of serenades June 23, Feast of Saint John on June 24, summer events, the festival of mushrooms, events in " Gnostre" in November and "Pettole in Gnostre" in December.
Of course, in summer you can choose to go to sea. Adriatic and Ionian sea, so the distance is the same, it takes 30 minutes by car (ask for the receipt around the shores agreement).
All year you can ride a bicycle in the maze of streets through the beautiful countryside.
For golf fans, Noci is 20 minutes from Barialto Golf Club of Casamassima, 30 minutes from the San Domenico Golf Club of Savelletri Fasano, 45 minutes from the Riva dei Tessali Golf Club of Ginosa, 60 minutes from Metaponto Golf Club, 90 minutes from Acaya Golf Club.
For lovers of wellness and thalassotherapy, special agreements with Kalidria Thalasso Spa at Nova Yardinia in Castellaneta Marina (45 minute drive).
Within 10 minute drive
Alberobello is situated in south-eastern area in province of Bari, near Castellana Grotte, Locorotondo and Putignano.
Its foundation was in the fifteenth century by the Acquaviva - D'Aragon, count of Conversano, in an area occupied by a forest of oaks.
Are characteristic of Alberobello trulli houses built with dry stone and cone-shaped roof made of stone. Alberobello is the only center to preserve the historic core composed entirely of trulli. Internally, the trulli have one room central square, connected by arches with the other rooms of the house. Many of the trulli in the center can be visited.
The highest trullo in the country, called the Trullo Sovrano, has two floors and houses a museum. The conical roofs are often adorned with decorative markings of various shapes, depicting the zodiac and religious symbols. In 1996 the town of Alberobello was declaired from UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
Do not miss
Particularly significant is the church of San Antonio, shaped trulli, with a monumental entrance, the main hall like a Greek cross and side chapels with vaulted gable.
The "home of love", today valued tourist information point, is the first building constructed throughout the city with bonding materials, as indicated from the text of 1797 beside the door.
Worth a visit the basilica of Santi Medici, which houses the images of Madonna of Loreto and patron Saints Cosmas and Damian, celebrated on 27 and 28 September.
Places to visit Trulli - old town
Sanctuary of Santi Medici
Within 20 minute drive
Castellana is located in the inland province of Bari, 290 meters from sea level on the edge of a karst valley closed. Characterized by a type of economy on agriculture and industry, owes its tourist vocation to his caves, speleological complex of international repute within walking distance from the town. Historical sources attest to the presence of the core housing already in the tenth century, under the name Castellano, replaced for the current one since 1310. The house was donated by the Norman Count Geoffrey of Conversano Benedictine monastery, under whose jurisdiction the civil and ecclesiastical remained until the fifteenth century. Acquired by the Orsini, Castellana was given as a dowry to the daughter of Giovanni Antonio Orsini, during his marriage to a member of the count Acquaviva, whose rule lasted until 1806.
In the sixteenth century, the city met a remarkable development due to a large flow of immigration. The agrarian transformation started in the seventeenth century contributed to the birth of a peasant class and laid the foundations for economic development based on land use, with the cultivation of vines and olive trees. During the last century, an important role in economic and cultural life of Castellana was covered by the family De Bellis, owner of a textile factory and a winery.
Do not miss At the entrance of the town are the Caves of Castellana, caving complex discovered and explored for the first time in 1938 by Franco Anelli. The caves are a set of caves and tunnels that spread underground for more than 2 km, offering visitors a unique panorama. New avenues, discovered in 1982 are now intended for scientific research only. Of great interest is the church of the convent of Franciscan, which houses the image of Madonna of Vetrana, protector of the city for having saved the people from the plague in 1691. This event is celebrated on 11 January with the celebration of Bonfire, which takes place during a procession in which the icon was brought from the Convent to the Mother Church. In Serritella country is the characteristic church of "Madonna della Grotta", an example of rocky architecture of the seventeenth century. Places to visit Castellana Caves
Within 40 minute drive
Matera, the provincial capital and second city of Basilicata, is known worldwide for historians Sassi, rock settlements have developed since the Middle Ages along the steep walls of Gravina torrent declaired from UNESCO in 1993 a World Heritage Site. It was also awarded the Silver Medal for Military Valour for the sacrifices of its people during World War II, having been the first city in the South to rise up in arms against the Nazi.
Ab initio-up area of Matera, scattered in the gravine and Murgia, have settled in the territory of several religious communities, by the Benedictines (VIII cent) to the Basilian monks persecuted by the Turks (XII-XV), maintaining a constant presence of ascetic centers, places of worship small and large, dug directly into the rock and preserved over time. Benedictine monks and Greeks monks lived in the, formerly used by prehistoric man. Subsequently developed a village of peasants.
The site occupies two natural amphitheatres, Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, divided by a ridge on which stands the Cathedral.
Do not miss Dug and built close to the Gravina of Matera, a deep gorge that divides the territory into two, the Sassi of Matera, districts that constitute the old part of town, are in two valleys, looking east, separated from the rock of Civita.
Before conditions of excessive urbanization compel residents evacuated them in 1952, the Sassi were a complex example of integration between man and nature, with technical and innovative urban solutions, that today, after recovery planning, you can again seen in their splendor.
Visiting the Sassi we be surprised the amount and assortment of churches, palaces, buildings and rock-cut terraces that serve as roofs for the buildings below.
This enviable position has made the city invisible to his enemies for millennia, allowing it to go virtually unscathed through centuries of history. Indeed, the Sassi are a settlement result from various forms of civilization have occurred over time.
The Cathedral in Romanesque style, was built in the thirteenth century on the spur of the highest Civita that divides in two Sassi. To visit the church of St. Francis of Assisi: almost completely rebuilt in 1670. Important are the external facade in late baroque style.
In the city and along the gravines of the Park of the Murgia, there are about 150 churches carved into the rock cliff. Among the most important rock churches in the Sassi are the Saint Lucia alle Malve, complex rock that once housed a monastic community, the Convicinio of S. Antonio, an area consisting of 4 crypts rock, St. Mary of Idris on the summit of the cliff.
The "Regional Archaeological Park Natural Rock Churches of Matera" now has the task of protecting this cultural heritage.
The city, with its sights, its folk customs and different events that take place during the year, it has pretty wide and varied cultural offer.
Places to visit Sassi
Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna
Museum of Farming
Within 1.5 hours drive
San Giovanni Rotondo is located on the slopes of Monte Calvo, in a valley at the heart of Gargano. Was founded by the people of Cistelpirgiano, and takes its name from an ancient temple of Giano in which later was built a church dedicated to St. John Baptist of Lombards. Frederick II built the city walls and 15 towers for defense.
Do not miss
Several sites linked to the figure of St. Pius: Renzo Piano's new church, the convent and the old church of St. Maria delle Grazie, the new church of St. Maria delle Grazie, the monumental Via Crucis by Francesco Messina, the monument of St. Pius from sculptor Fazzini and the House for the Relief of Suffering.
In the western town of San Giovanni Rotondo, there are two churches dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie. The small monastery of 1540, attached to the oldest church is the place where Padre Pio lived from September 4, 1916 until September 23, 1968, the date of his death.
In the smaller church, consecrated in 1629, houses a beautiful icon of Madonna delle Grazie. Because of increasing numbers of devotees who attended the religious celebrations, in the side of the oldest church, have been made a bigger always dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie.
In the crypt that was built under the entire complex houses the tomb of the monk of Pietrelcina, Saint since 2002.
For those who go on pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo, an important step is the visit to Padre Pio's cell, in the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie. Not only for devotional reasons, but also to admire the beautiful landscape, is to take the monumental staircase of the Via Crucis by Francesco Messina.
Do not miss the cylindrical Tower, one of 15 towers, built by Frederick II around the city, now houses the museum of popular arts.
Places to visit Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie
Anniversary of the death of Padre Pio
Occasions deeply felt and experienced are religious celebrations and festivals calendar in San Giovanni Rotondo. On August 15, in the center, held the feast of the "Vestizione of the Madonna". The main celebration is celebrated the day 8, 9 and 10 September, and is the feast of Madonna delle Grazie. The ritual includes that the painting of the Virgin Mary, located in the lower church of the Capuchin monastery, is transferred to the Mother Church for three days of celebration.
Within 30 minute drive
Martina Franca, in the province of Taranto, in the hills east of Murgia equal distance from the Ionian and Adriatic. The trulli of Valle d'Itria were built in the early stages of expansion farmer outside the town, are examples of the town's origins. All around the fertile countryside bright colors framed by beautiful stone walls still used by farmers to delimit crops.
The city's origins are relatively recent. The first settlement on the hill was in the tenth century. To the first group joined the local shepherds and nomads. Probably Martina Franca for two centuries was a military outpost protecting Taranto, at least until 1300 when he was elevated to the rank of Town by Philip I of Anjou, Prince of Taranto.
The Prince give the city to Pietro del Tocco, including a castle and the surrounding rural land and some rural homes. The name of the town was named in honor of St. Martin, that would have protected many times from external aggression, while the adjective "Franca" comes from the fact that the city at the time of Philip of Anjou offer his people relief payments taxes.
Do not miss
Among the traditional festivals is a must the patronal feast of St. Martin's summer (first week of July) during which the silver statues of St. Martin and St. Comasia are carried in procession. Tradition is that the statue of Santa Comasia should always pull out first, otherwise the statue of St. Martin's become too heavy and no-transportable. Also worth a mention two local products: wine DOC and neck, a sausage from the meat of pigs reared in the woods surrounding Martina Franca.
Places to visit Eastern Murge
Palazzo Marino Motolese
Noci is located halfway between Bari and Taranto, on the promontory of the Murge, between Putignano, Alberobello and Gioia del Colle, 420 meters above sea level. Inserted in the circuit area called "Trulli and Caves", owes its name to the many ancient walnut trees in the area.
The forest is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive features of its natural territory. The "Fragno" (Quercus Trojan) represented the only environmental and economic resource of the first settlers.
In the vast countryside of Noci are numerous farms, embellished with various architectural features (roof sprocket Trulli). Most of these have been converted to farms and livestock. By animal calling impulse takes the agro-food industry. The dairies produce the famous cheese and sausage plait pack the famous Bacon of Murgia. Developed is the center of the chocolate.
The documentation on the origins of the town was kept in the church and was destroyed by fire in 1529. Hystorians trace its origins to the Middle Ages. According to legend, Philip of Anjou, built the first church as a sign of gratitude after he was saved by a hurricane sheltering under a walnut tree.
During the domination of Anjou became "Universitas Regia". Under the control of the Acquaviva d'Aragona, it was a duchy and it followed the vicissitudes of the Kingdom of Naples.
Do not miss
In the Capuchin Church is a valuable painting by Luca Giordano dedicated to the Madonna. Not far from the town is the Church of Santa Maria della Croce made in 1470 hosting a unique celebration on the night of May 31.
A few kilometers from the town you reach the church of S. Maria della Scala with its Benedictine monastery. The Benedictine abbey includes a restoration laboratory of the book, which were recovered several books damaged in the Florence floods of 1966.
Places to visit Abbazia Madonna della Scala
Feast of St. Rocco
Within 5 minute drive
Putignano lies on three hills, 375 meters above sea level. The city is home peuceta since the Middle Ages and was one of the papal dominions. The original village was surrounded by an elliptical wall, now vanished.
The population showed great devotion to the pope, including the refusal of access to the city opposite the Emperor Frederick II, returning from a hunting trip, even though they had built a castle for the people. Following this unfortunate event, the emperor had the building demolished.
The city showed hard work during the centuries in agriculture, manufacturing, marketing and quality. At the back end of the 800 born early industries, which experienced a great development, reaching above the current international fame thanks first of all to the production sector of wedding dresses.
On July 26, 2000, the minor planet number 7665, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, was named Putignano, an initiative of the Director of the Observatory of Guidonia (Rome) who discovered it in 1994 from the city of Putignano.
Do not miss
In the main square of Putignano are the Palace of the Balì, the original seat of the Knights of Malta, now a civic museum and the "Sedile", once home of the University.
Of great value is the fourteenth century church of Santa Maria la Greca, with Baroque facade, where tradition said been transferred the remains of St. Stephen and the icon of the Madonna della Greca, to protect them from Turkish raids.
To visit, although far from downtown, is the church of San Domenico, with an adjoining monastery, baroque facade and bell tower.
Other interesting places to visit are the Caves Putignano, carsick 20 meters deep.
The Carnival of Putignano is part of local tradition and dates back to 1394 to celebrate the passing of the relics of St. Stephen. Among the main events is the Festival of Santo Stefano and the parade of floats made of paper-mache on the last Sunday of carnival, after long days of dances and jokes that target different society groups.
Places to visit Civic Museum
Carnival of Putignano
Churcu of San Domenico
Feast of St. Stephen's
Santa Maria Barsento
Within 40 minute drive
Regional capital, covers an area almost entirely flat along the coast and only a few strokes on the Murgia Barese. The shape of the city resembles a bird with open wings, whose head forms the core of Bari Vecchia. It was annexed to the Roman Empire in the third century BC. Over time was Arab emirate and was conquered by the Lombards, Byzantines and Saracens. Fleet headquarters of the Roman Empire, the old city is arranged around the Catapano court.
After stealing the remains of Saint Nicholas and the construction of the basilica dedicated to the saint, Bari became a major center of Christianity, and point of departure and arrival of the Crusaders and a bridge of communication with the East.
Ruled by Norman, Angevin, Aragonese, and Spanish, the city's urban development began in 1813 outside the historic center with the construction of the new suburb.
Currently, thanks to the strategic port, airport and important complex of Fiera del Levante, Bari has taken a leading role in relations with the countries bordering the Mediterranean.
Do not miss
Structures of merit, more recent than the monuments of the old town are the Teatro Petruzzelli, Teatro Margherita (under renovation), the Teatro Piccinni and Palazzo Fizzarotti. There are numerous cave churches and tombs carved into the rock. These include the cave church of St. Candida, the temple of St. George, the hypogean of Madia Diana and hypogean "Jewish". Among the museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Provincial Art Gallery, Civic History Museum, the Botanical Garden.
Among the most important events is the festivities of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the city, December 6 and 7 to 9 May, with a historical procession of the caravel; the exhibitions at the Fiera del Levante.
Places to visit Basilica of St. Nicholas
Norman-Swabian Castle of Bari
Cathedral of San Sabino
Festival of St. Nicholas
Museum of the Basilica of San Nicola
Provincial Art Gallery
Church of San Domenico
Within 1 hour drive
Barletta is a North of Bari, in front of the Gargano promontory and the mouth of the Gulf of Manfredonia. By 2008, with Andria and Trani will be part of the new province of BAT.
Established in pre-Christian, the first expansion of Barletta was in the sixth century AD, when the inhabitants of Canosa escaped the destruction of their city by the Lombards. During the Norman Barletta became an important milestone for the Crusaders and the trade with the Holy Land. The moment of greatest splendor of the city, with the construction of a powerful merchant fleet, came under Angevin rule. Early in 500, during the war between the Spanish and French dates the episode "Challenge of Barletta", for which the town is famous.Do not miss The sea is one of the attractions of the city with a long sandy coastline, equipped with beaches and hotels, ideal for families and children. To visit the museum and art gallery, in the Swabian Castle, built by Frederick II on pre-existing Norman fortress. Deserve further attention to the great bronze statue of Colossus Heraclius and the nearby Basilica of St. Sepolcro dating from the twelfth century and characterized by interesting Eastern influences.
Of particular historical interest are the Palazzo della Marra, a stunning century seat of the Pinacoteca de Nittis, and, a few miles from town, the archaeological site of the Battle of Cannae, site of the epic clash between the Roman army and Hannibal's troops in 216 BC.
Among the unmissable performance is the reenactment of "Challenge of Barletta" of February 13, 1503, when 13 Italian knights led by Ettore Fieramosca challenged to a duel by 13 French knights led by Guy La Motte. Each year, the last Sunday of July, thousands of tourists following the reenactment of the oath of the knights, to the arms and the tournament that saw the victory Italian.
Places to visit Antiquarian
Cathedral of Santa maria maggiore
Challenge of Barletta
Feast of Madonna of Sterpeto
Palazzo De Angelis
Within 30 minute drive
Polignano a Mare, the birthplace of the famous Italian singer Domenico Modugno, is located about thirty kilometers from Bari. Given the strategic position of her village overlooking the beach has always been considered a gateway to the Mediterranean and the Orient. It is, in fact, an important commercial crossroads and a meeting point of different cultures. Urban structures presents traces of the Arab, Byzantine and Spanish Norman.
Polignano offers a crystal clear sea of various shades, twelve miles of coastline with numerous caves carved in the rocks: for these reasons is defined by the tourists the "Pearl of the Adriatic". The seascape is characterized by small inlets and caves accessible by boat, often linked with the basements of the houses above. Of particular scientific and tourism interest are the seabed of the sea that stretches across the town, a favorite destination of divers and diving.
The fertile countryside of this area is characterized by blades, carpeted by Mediterranean vegetation and the presence of numerous archaeological sites.
Do not miss
Among the events of particular interest: the Festival of Madonna del Carmelo which occurs July 15 to 17, the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian on August 13 and the procession of devotees and the feast of Christ of September 17, during which the Cross is carried in procession between the districts.
Place to visit
Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Feast of the Patron Saint Vitus Martyr
Within 1 hour drive
Trani is a North of Bari, near Castel del Monte, and since 2008 with Barletta Andria form the new province BAT. Legend attributes its foundation to the Tyrrhenian, the son of Diomedes, but the first historical city dating back to the third century AD The historical record dates back to the IX century, a period of domination of the Lombards.
Trani enjoyed great commercial expansion in the Aragon rule will revive after dark Angevin government. It was under Spanish rule that Trani became the most important center of all of Southern Italy and as such the title of capital of this region, a title that is lost during until the period Murat, in favor of Bari.
The structure Trani is divided into three parts: the old town and characterized by good preservation of historic structures, the area with nineteenth-century palaces and the modern area.
Do not miss
Among the sights worth deepening the Castello Svevo. Built by Frederick II, is within walking distance of the Cathedral, near the sea, strategically positioned to monitor and defend the port and the town. The castle has a quadrangular plan, a large central courtyard and four towers at each corner.
The port of Trani is enclosed in the pier of Saint Lucia, and the pier of St. Anthony. The particular location, moored boats and signal lights, besides the beauty of the surroundings, make the port a unique destination for relaxing walks.
Among the most characteristic elements of the urban area of Trani we note the lovely public gardens, situated on a large stretch of the old city walls. Another monument typical of the Romanesque is the church of Santa Maria Colonna, was built between the late eleventh and early twelfth century by Geoffrey di Siniscalco near downtown.
Among the events leading the festivities in honor of St. Nicholas, lasting four days in late July and early August. Da visitare Trani Castle
Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino
Within 1 hour drive
Andria is located ten kilometers from the sea. According to some historians it was founded by Diomedes, who drew the borders and called Andros. According to others, it was built after the work of evangelization in the region by Saint Andrew and Saint Peter.
In any case, all agree that the fall of the West Roman Empire a strong impetus to urbanization of the city. Since 1064 Peter Norman I made a "civitas" fortified with walls and 12 watchtowers.
Andria in 1200 became Ghibellines, loyal to Frederick II of Swabia. In 1350 and in 1370 suffered two assaults, the first, was particularly damaging from German mercenaries. In 1487 the city passed under the rule of the Aragonese, in a period filled with battles.
Then began the long reign of Carafa. At the end of 1700 Andria became city of the reign and in 1806 came under the government of Joseph Bonaparte and Murat later. The city is also famous for his participation in Garibaldi action, providing nearly one hundred men to the army of a thousand. Do not miss Near the town is one that certainly is the main attraction of the area: Castel del Monte. Considered one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, has been included in UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.
Among the events not to be missed include the April Fair organized in memory of the discovery of the remains of the patron St. Richard in England, and the International Festival "Castle of the Worlds" takes place between late August and early September.
Do not miss the sweets production of sugar plum, which is famous Andria, you can enjoy in the Museum of Sugar Plum .
Places to visit
Castel del Monte
The Spina Santa Procession
Museum of the Sugar Plum
Shrine of Madonna of Miracles
Castel del Monte You can not neglect a visit to this castle built and commissioned by Emperor Frederick II and probably completed around 1240. For its form and its function Castel del Monte differs significantly from the other castles that can be visited in Apulia.
The shape of the octagon on which it is structured the entire building, first is a strict architectural design and other aspects draws (probably) symbolic, making the visit even more interesting.
It is not impossible also that the construction of the castle, whose design work has been followed directly by the emperor, was inspired by other buildings that had seen the same Frederick II during the Sixth Crusade.
Frederick is one of the main protagonists of medieval history of Puglia, having commissioned the construction of numerous castles that can still be appreciated by tourists visiting this region. Frederick II was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 1211 until 1250, when he died. For his curiosity about the arts and sciences was named Stupor Mundi, or wonder of the world.
Participated in the Crusades, was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX and was author of a lively legislative work that he carried on with the help of important jurists of the time, such as Pier delle Vigne.
The legend says it was the same Frederick II of Swabia to follow the design and the main use of the castle was like astronomical observatory. Furthermore, the profile of the castle was on the coins minted Italian one euro cent.
Within 40 minute drive
Conversano is in the province of Bari and is about thirty kilometers from the capital. The town, once called Norba, has its origins in the Iron Age when it was inhabited by Peucetians and Japigi.
Rich in archaeological traces, the city became part of the Roman Empire, followed the evolution and decline until the fall and the subsequent barbarian invasions.
Reborn at the hands of the Normans, with the new name Cupersanum, became an important town in the center of the county stretching from Brindisi, Lecce, Polignano. In 1422, after several dominions, the county passed to the Orsini, and thereafter for about four centuries, the Aragonese.
Among the most famous exponents of the House, Jerome II of Aragon, known as the Guercio di Puglia, is remembered for having ruled the county for 40 years until 1645, imposing bullying and harassment of various kinds, including the "Jus primae noctis." He recalls an episode of the popular uprising in 1886 when the people, exasperated by the constant harassment imposed by local lords, burned the town hall.
Do not miss
In the possible paths to achieve the discovery of the treasures of Conversano, certainly occupies a prominent place Marchionne Castle, the hunting lodge outside the city of Acquaviva of Aragon. It was only used for hunting, it had been built next to a dense forest, which today remains only one oak.
They are also to visit the "Lakes": ten karst depressions at the foot of the hills surrounding the city that, due to the rains, they turn into small lakes with a rich fauna of reptiles and amphibians.
Conversano has always been a city alive with cultural excitement, which is reflected in numerous initiatives, festivals and fairs that made especially on weekends.
The third Sunday of May is celebrated Madonna della Fonte, patroness of the city. The festivities include religious ceremonies, fireworks and cultural activities.
On January 17 is celebrate St Anthony Abbot, with the blessing of the animals, civil celebrations and a huge bonfire. The first Sunday of October is celebrate Santa Rita and Saints Cosma and Damian. In addition to the religious celebration takes place a feature festival calendar, especially felt by the inhabitants. Place to visit Castle of Conversano
Town Museum of Conversano
Cathedral of Conversano
Lakes of Conversano and Gravina
In the manifestations of rock civilization and in Greek culture identify the most ancient roots of Taranto and province. Two civilizations that developed in a wonderful way in this area of southern Puglia thanks to the conformation of the territory that had once water-rich and very fertile, so as to attract the interest of the Greek colonists who arrived in 706 BC and founded Taranto. The presence of streams, now underground, is also demonstrated by the numerous caves and inlets, produced by the action of erosion and become an ideal scenario for the development of rock culture, this phenomenon in Taranto reached wondrous forms. Today the province has a more bitter on the inside and clear sea and sandy bottoms in the Gulf of Taranto. Remains of the ancient civilizations the charm is still visible and fabulous scenarios included in the spectacle of nature.
In Taranto Murgia you can visit deep gravine carved by ancient rivers and a large number of karst caves originally housed, since prehistoric times, a solid rock civilization. Often a refuge for shepherds and peasants in medieval times these same cavities were chosen as a residence and place of prayer by Basilian monks. Traces and testimonies of rock dwellings, underground villages and frescoed walls, can be seen near Mottola and Massafra.
Within 45 minute drive
Provincial capital, overlooks the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea. It is called the "city of two seas": the Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo.
For its location the city has always been considered strategically important in terms of commercial and military and its ports have always been home to Navy ships and merchant ships.
The city's origins date back to 706 BC when, according to the historian Eusebius of Caesarea, in this area settlers moved from Sparta. The first transformation of the city occurred between the third and first centuries BC with the arrival of the Romans.
The reconstruction of the social history and urban Taranto is rather difficult because of lack of evidence, exhibits or reports of specific historical periods, although some of the city was destroyed by Muslims in 927 and its reconstruction ordered by Nicephorus II Seal began in 967.
During Angevin, Aragonese, the city was fortified because of the danger represented by the Turks.
Very few the religious buildings of this period. All the most impressive fortifications of the old city were destroyed by decree of King Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy.
In 1882 he decided to build in Taranto the navy arsenal in the bay of Saint Lucia, in the Mar Piccolo.Do not miss Do not miss during the Easter Holy Week, including the famous Good Friday procession of the Mysteries in which you can see a parade of pardons, hooded devotees loyal to the brotherhood of Carmine.
In the old city many buildings of historic and artistic interest: the Doric Temple and the Crypt of the Redeemer.
The Romanesque and Baroque styles are easily recognizable in front of the Cathedral of San Cataldo, and the church of San Domenico Maggiore is clearly built in Gothic style.
The highlights include the underground De Beaumont Bonelli Bellacicco, 14 meters below sea level, presents testimony Greek, Byzantine and medieval and has access to the beach promenade of the old town.
Also on the island, not to be missed is the Ethnographic Museum Alfredo Majorano: inside testimonies of folk Taranto linked to labor, rites to the party. In defense of the ancient city from the Turks, the Aragonese castle, 1492.
The stay in Taranto should also include a visit to the National Archaeological Museum where they kept the famous Gold of Taranto, testimony to the goldsmith of Magna Graecia of the fourth century BC. Many also visited the necropolis in the city.
Places to visit Taranto Aragon Castle
Festival of San Cataldo
Cathedral of San Cataldo
Convent of Sant 'Antonio
Convent of Alcantarini
Ex Convent of San Domenico
Ex Convent of di San Francesco
Ethnographic Museum Alfredo Major "
Palazzo De Beaumont and underground Bellacicco
Within 1 hour drive
Gallipoli is on the west coast of the Salento peninsula. It is divided into two parts: the new city and old town built on an island of limestone and connected to the mainland by an arched bridge.
Gallipoli was once Messapian center named Anxa. It was subsequently occupied by the Romans became an important commercial port in the sale of purple from the region.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was sacked by barbarians, the Vandals and Goths, who were also defeated and driven out by the Byzantines.
They followed the Swabian and Angevin rulers of which can be traced in the restructuring of old Byzantine castle transformed into a fortress that was further fortified by the Spaniards during their occupation.
The old part of Gallipoli, fortified by walls and towers, underwent several sieges of which rmember that of 1484 by the Venetians and the one operated by the French in 1528.
Do not miss
Do not miss the old town perched on the island. The small island has a circumference of one mile and is characterized by a set of alleys and small streets that cross each other. The walls, ramparts and towers that once protected the city from invaders, today protect against storm surges and give it a unique charm that takes visitors up in the distant past.
Gallipoli Cathedral, in Baroque style, presents paintings and interior decorations of particular interest.
Near the bridge you can admire the Hellenistic fountain, once mistakenly known as the oldest fountain in Italy, rich in reliefs inspired by Greek mythology. In front of the fountain you can visit the shrine of Madonna del Canneto with an interesting ceiling dating from the XVIII century.
Tourist destination for beach lovers, the city is suitable for families thanks to the fine sand beaches, and recommended to the lovers of diving and spearfishing.
Places to visit Cathedral of Sant'Agata
Chiesa Santa Maria degli Angeli
Within 1 hour drive
On the easternmost tip of Italy, about 30 km from Lecce, is the ancient Hydruntum first colony of Magna Graecia and then a Roman municipium.
It was for a long time the political, cultural and commercial centre of Salento, known as "Terra d'Otranto". Before its destruction by the Turks in 1480, during the Byzantine and Norman domination, the city experienced periods of great importance, as evidenced by the numerous historical and artistic beauty.
Otranto, a meeting point of different cultures and a crossroads between the Mediterranean and the East, is on a rocky overlooking the sea.
Do not miss
In addition to meeting the demands of beach tourism, offering great ideas for a holiday based on scenery, history and culture.
Walking in the oldest part is fascinated by the old district enclosed by the walls of Aragon, with white houses and narrow streets paved with stone that converge on the beautiful cathedral, the largest among the churches of Puglia, characterized by the influences of Renaissance and Arab-Gothic art. As testimony to the tragic battle of 1480, the cathedral hosts the skulls of people beheaded. Also beautiful the castle, extended by the Aragonese to implement the existing defense.
Places to visit Castle of Otranto
Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata
St. Peter's Church
Within 1 hour drive
Important cultural center of Salento, Ostuni also called the "white city" is located eight kilometers from the Adriatic coast, in the southern Murgia. The first settlement of the IV-III century BC and was established by Messapi.
Destroyed at the end of the second Punic War, the city was rebuilt by the Romans under which Ostuni flourished.
With the fall of the Roman Empire came a long period of domination: Ostrogoths, Lombards, Normans, Swabians, Aragonese Angionians followed one another in the lordship of the city without being able to subject to a feudal regime.
After 1800 Ostuni extended his territory up to the current size. Do not miss Ostuni's charm lies in the characteristic white walls of the houses in the old town. All the houses in the old town are in fact only painted with white lime paint. With this feature, Ostuni is known as the "white city", but also has other names, the "queen of Olives" and the "crib city."
To visit the entire old city called the "earth", to distinguish it from the most recent "sea", which looks like a collection of ancient buildings coated in white limestone and each other.
At the heart of the old city stands the Cathedral of Ostuni, the style is difficult to classify but due to a tradition of Gothic - Romanesque.
Do not miss the portal of the Holy Spirit Church, dating back to 1450 now recognized as a national monument.
Other attractions in Ostuni are 17 km of beaches alternating sandy coves, cliffs, pebble beaches and dunes covered in Mediterranean vegetation.
The coast is also home to a nature reserve in Lido Morelli.
Strong reminder of the feast of St. Horace, the patron saint of the city which takes place from 25 to 27: among the many manifestations, "Cavalcade" during which local authorities and clergy parade on horseback with the ladies and knights in original medieval costumes.
Places to visit Ostuni Cathedral
Cavalcade of St. Horace
Church of Madonna del Carmine
Convent and church of Monacelle
St. Joseph's Fair
Underground crusher "Lacopagliaro"
Museum of Civilization Southern Murgia Pre-Classical and Archaeological Park of Santa Maria Agnano
Festival of the old days
Daunia and Gargano presents a great variety of scenarios: the rolling hills of the river valley Fortore, Daunian Apennine and Ofanto river valley, the area of the Gargano National Park, the plain of Tavoliere and the 'Tremiti archipelago.
The Tavoliere, with its endless stretches of wheat on which the eye comes to rest without seeing the horizon, is the scenario where place Foggia, San Severo and Cerignola.
The greenest area of Puglia, the Gargano National Park, is distinguished by its vegetation, ranging from forest to Mediterranean vegetation.
Tremiti islands are considered a natural paradise. The depths of the caves and erosions carved by the waves and wind are irresistible for divers and beach lovers.
Tremiti Archipelago lies north of the Gargano National Park. Two of the islands are inhabited since ancient times and the wonderful natural setting in which they are enriched by the many stories and legends handed down for centuries, and now showing the strong link between the islanders, the sea and nature.
The Gargano National Park extends over the cape of the same name and includes within it also archipelago Tremiti. Numerous and in some cases very rare if not unique, the protected habitats park. This is the case of the Foresta Umbra, the last remaining example of a scenario that characterized much of the prehistory of the Mediterranean area.
Daunia, ancient Capitanata includes the Apennine, the table of Apulia and Gargano. Its landscape is extremely diverse and ranges from green parks and forests, the yellow grain of Tavoliere and the blue waters of the sea, contrasting with the white cliffs of the coast.
The archipelago is composed of three islands - San Domino, San Nicola, Capraia - a small island - Cretaccio - and some rocks. Is located 12 nautical miles off the northern coast of Gargano, in the Adriatic Sea.
Since 1989 the islands, with coastline full of caves, have become a natural marine reserve. The largest island is San Domino, devoted to tourism, which is the only sandy beach in the archipelago (Cala delle Arene).
In San Nicola are visible signs of Neolithic, Greek 's tombs and the Abbey of St. Maria a Mare with its magnificent mosaic floors and imposing walls.
In the eighteenth century the island became a penal colony. Their old name was Diomedee Islands, from greek hero Diomedes, who, according to legend, launched into the water three stones were then re-emerged as islands.
Do not missSan Domino, the largest island of the archipelago is covered by a pine forest that reaches up to the rocks overlooking the sea. Along the coast you can visit, reachable only by boat, many caves, especially the Cave of the Salt and Grotta delle Viole, you should visit during the early morning hours to be dazzled by the splendid colored reflections.
Not to be missed Finally, the caves of Bue Marino.
A short distance from the island of San Domino is the Capraia island, uninhabited and wild. Place to visit Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare
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