Monopoli is a corner of Apulia that hardly leaves you indifferent: a seaside town that combines the authentic atmosphere of a fishing village with the beauty of historic buildings.
What to see in Monopoli: 5 main attractions
- One of the first things to see in Monopoli is undoubtedly the 16th-century Charles V Castle. it is located on the Punta Penna promontory – outside the city walls – with the aim of protecting the harbour .Over the years it has been restored and now it houses a Museum, various temporary exhibitions, conferences and meetings.
- Among the attractions not to be missed there is the Cathedral, dedicated to the Madonna della Madia, the town’s patron Saint. Inside there is the colourful Chapel of the Madonna della Madia, a true triumph of marble and elegance, overlooking the central altar.
- A special place is occupied by the old port, which undoubtedly represents a piece of the city’s identity. A picturesque place where all the colourful fishing boats are moored. The port is enclosed on three sides by walls and historical buildings of different periods and styles: Venetian, Gothic and Byzantine. These include the spectacular Palazzo Martinelli.
- Vittorio Emanuele Square, with its 18,000 square metres, is one of the largest squares in Apulia and in Italy. It is also called the “Borgo” and it was built in 1796 by the King of Naples with an octagonal layout and wide avenues.
- Last, but not least, is the old town centre of Monopoli. You can’t say you have seen a town until you have wandered through its alleyways, discovering characteristic narrow streets, small squares, beautiful views and lots of churches, overlooked by old white stone buildings.
What to do in Monopoli: authentic experiences
If you are looking for something characteristic, peculiar and typical of Monopoli, discover 3 authentic experiences that TravelingItaly has selected for you.
The first experience we recommend is a bike tour among thousand-year-old olive trees, masserias, rock churches and underground oil mills. The tour starts from the old town centre: This is an emotional journey to discover authentic places in this part of Apulia; a relaxing cycle ride through nature, along secondary roads and old paths. These are authentic places, private properties that can be discovered and admired thanks to expert tour guides.
If you want to relax then this is the experience for you: a pilates and yoga (Piloga) class by the sea. This one-hour lesson by the sea will start the day with the sun on your back, the wind in your hair and the sound of the sea.
The last experience we propose is a trip on the gozzo. The “gozzo” is the traditional fisherman’s boat, distinguished by its red and blue colours. It is a slow travel experience, in the company of fishermen and experienced mariners, who can bring the local maritime traditions to life. A journey to discover the true essence of the sea.
Monopoli’s most beautiful beaches and coves
The beaches of Monopoli are the most beautiful part of the Bari coastline: a 13 km long strip of coastline that alternates between golden beaches and rocky outlines, with small coves and bays where you can swim in the blue sea of Apulia. Some beaches have bathhouse with all kinds of services, while others are very difficult to find.
Cala Porta Vecchia is one of Monopoli’s most beautiful and famous beaches and it is located a short walk from the heart of the town.
A very characteristic cove is Porto Nero: a small corner of paradise, surrounded by rocks, fine sand and crystal-clear water. Porto Bianco cove, on the other hand, is very wide, sandy and shallow, making it ideal for children.
The entire bay of Cala Paradiso is occupied by bathhouse offering various services, such as volleyball and swimming courses and beach volleyball tournaments.
What to see nearby
- Polignano a Mare (17 minutes by car)
Polignano a Mare is a real corner of paradise and poetry. It is famous for its extraordinary location perched above the sea, its wonderful natural caves and beaches, for being the birthplace of Domenico Modugno and for its characteristic old town centre full of rhymes and verses.
- Casamassima (45 minutes by car)
Casamassima is a village of medieval origin, included in the association of “Authentic Villages of Italy”. It is nicknamed the “light blue town” because many of the houses in the historic centre are painted in this colour. For this reason it is very reminiscent of the town of Chefchaouen in Morocco.
- Castellana Caves (25 minutes by car)
The Castellana Caves are a complex of underground cavities of karstic origin of considerable interest to tourists, among the most beautiful and spectacular in Italy.
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