Castles on the Sea: A Visit to Monopoli, Puglia, and Surroundings
Monopoli, a quaint seaside town, is centrally located in the region of Puglia, Italy, known as the heel of the boot, a convenient base for exploring all that Puglia has to offer for travelers of every age and size. It lies twenty-five miles southeast of Bari and it is known as the city of “one hundred districts”.
Homes and businesses are scattered along the coast extending to the hillsides above. Agriculture, fishing and tourism are among its thriving industries. Its inhabitants and tourists alike have access to the freshest produce and seafood. The flow of life is typical of the southern parts of Mediterranean countries: during the day, you’ll notice a rush of people around 10AM and by 1PM it becomes a ghost town as locals return home for lunch with the family and siesta. The bustling typically resumes after 4pm and lasts until the late hours of the night – during summer well past midnight! Enjoy the lungomare - the path along the sea starting from the Castle of Charles V with its fortified walls.
You can stroll along this path all the way down to beautiful crystal clear beaches, a playground, cafes and restaurants. Children are welcome in all establishments. From the scenic harbor you can embark on a labyrinthine journey through the city’s historic center and a dense network of narrow cobblestones all the way to the more “modern” center of town. Depending on the path you choose you can encounter (to name a few notables) the majestic Palazzo Palmieri, the Cattedrale (cathedral) with its revered icon of the Madonna della Madia, the daily open air fruits and vegetable market and the old city library - a gateway from the inner harbor to the quaint, but lively, Piazza Garibaldi.
All paths lead to the central square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, referred to by locals as the Borgo. It is a popular gathering place for families and friends to convene, catch-up and reminisce about the past as they stroll through the old and the new parts of town.
Monopoli, Puglia is also the newest location of Arte al Sole, a day camp for international children offering week-long sessions based on the art, culture, and natural science of Italy. The location is located at the Villa Carenza estate, 10 minutes from Puglia’s most famous beaches and Trulli heritage sites. Students will engage with Puglia’s rich culture and history from the Ancient Greeks to the Norman Knights to Hapsburg Emperors. The beautiful grounds of the estate will be our outdoor studio for this journey through time experiencing the tapestry of art and architecture that makes up Puglia’s enchanting beauty today. Students will also sample the region’s legendary bread, the most famous in Italy, learn about how fresh mozzarella is made, organize a trulli sandcastle competition/beach party, and visit a local archaeological excavation.
Please contact us if you are planning a trip to Italy and considering visiting the beautiful southern region of Puglia.
We would like to thank Denise Ostuni of Ostuni Ventures for her contribution to this post.
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