My studies are over, and now the summer too. Backpacking projects are on their way, but before my departure I wanted to “freeze” in my eyes the charm of my land, exploring one of the many treasures to be discovered along the coast of Puglia: Monopoli. This small town is located about 40 km far from Bari, capital of our region. Thanks to the beauty of its land and the sea, nowadays Monopoli is an established destination for summer tourism, but luckily it is still far from loosing its flavour of romantic, antique port.
As for the most of the Apulian towns, Monopoli finds in the harbour its historical and vital core. Here the first settlements developed, first with the Messapi and later with the Romans, around the fifth century AD. According to tradition, the night of December 16, 1117 here docked the raft carrying the Byzantine icon of the Madonna della Madia , a canvas transported from Turkey and since then kept in the city’s cathedral.
The “gozzi“, small boats of blue or red colour used for the small-scale fisheries, are still scattered around the bay, day and night. An ancient gate connects with the old town, allowing visitors to access immediately to the unique atmosphere of the original hamlet, surrounded by the walls and the cannons that defended the city in ancient times.
Greeks, Romans, Normans, Swabians, Spanish: many conquerors and traders have been docking in Puglia all along the history. They did not flood the streets only with their goods, guns and stories, but, also, each and every of them with its own cultural heritage. In towns like Monopoli, this melting-pot of styles blends in a unique, magic architecture.
We travel a lot, seduced by the exotic taste of the adventure. There is no way, though, to forget our roots. If you look at our land, you will understand why.
Photography: Enrico Fabi