Sitting on Puglia's Adriatic coast around 30km south of Bari, Monopoli is a lovely town for a trip. 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.
- WHAT TO SEE AROUND MONOPOLI
It is best to start walking around the city from the Piazza XX Settembre or around it, where there is a colorful street market. Then you should go east to 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 (La chiesa di Santa Maria della Zaffara), a cannon-mounted bastion and the impressively robust Charles V Castle (Il Castello di Carlo V), 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.