Guide to Monopoli, Puglia


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MonopoliNo board game jokes, please! The locals have heard them all before!

Sitting on Puglia's Adriatic coast around 30km south of Bari, Monopoli is a lovely town for a day trip, possibly in combination with Polignano a Mare just up the coast, mixing a dip in the sea with a good lunch and a wander around the old town centre.

Like so many towns on the Adriatic, Monopoli's history has been thoroughly influenced by its east-facing position and its fortified sea-front walls and castle tell many a story.

Parking in or around Piazza XX Settembre, location of a colourful street market, head east towards the cathedral. To find it just look upwards and you are sure to see its elegantly conceived bell tower thrusting into the sky. Built in 1693, the tower is over 60 metres high, completely dominating the town below.

Passing by the cathedral (or after a quick look in), continue heading east and you will soon come to the first part of the sea-front, with its defensive walls and sandy bay, ideal for a refreshing dip. Continue down the lovely Via Papacenere, which will take you behind the walls and onto the Lungomare sea-front promenade, complete with some fine buildings, including the curvaceous Church of Santa Maria della Zaffira, a cannon-mounted bastion and the impressively robust Charles V Castle, built in 1552. The castle is visitable and the view from the top is wonderful.

Passing under an archway outside the castle, you will arrive in the port, comprised by a series of little harbours. Wandering half way round the first one, busy with fishermen mending their nets or unloading the day's catch, a little street will take you back into town and, along Via Cimino, back to your starting point at Piazza XX Settembre.

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