Apulia is a beautiful place to visit and to discover, even for somebody who was born there and is supposed to have been exposed to inspiring places on a daily basis. Sometimes one can take for granted there is something interesting to explore next to you, all is required is a little effort of curiosity and open-mindness. Recently, i have launched myself on a journey to explore interesting places nearby to where I was born and lived when i was a teenager, to appreciate their value and beauty and bring these to the attention of other travellers. In this sense, these scattered travelling notes want to generate some interest in more hidden spots of beauty in Apulia. I am starting with some urban spots along the central coast of Apulia, around the main city of Bari and two smaller towns further South, Mola di Bari and Monopoli.
Simple natural corners along the seafront or an old church with several layers of history can become points of cultural interest and exploratory ventures in Apulia. Hopefully blog readers will find this personal journey of mine stimulating also for their curiosity.
Recently I went to Monopoli, attracted by the linkage between this town and my family. I was astonished to find, even in the architectonic details of the family palace, clear signs of the Venetian origins and of the connection with trade across the Adriatic sea. Exquisite and fresh seafood was then the perfect culmination of a little discovery journey of my wondering through the historical centre of this hidden pearl along the Apulian coast.
Italians’ passion for food and cooking is notorious, probably because in Italian popular culture eating well is not just a response to a basic need but an essential element of enjoying life and socialising. The variety of food and cuisine to be found in all corners of the peninsula is also a reflection of centuries of fine elaboration with ingredients and preparations originated from around the world, assimilated harmoniously into the unique interpretation of taste and flavours that we now call Italian cooking. Apulia is no exception to this passion for food. The variety of fresh ingredients available all year round, form vegetable to cheeses and plenty of locally sourced fish and meat, is a guarantee of success with delicious preparations to be enjoyed with home-made recipes or in the many restaurants that continue and develop the great Apulian tradition for good food.
Apulia has always been a fertile ground for painters and sculptors of all times, who have been commissioned artowrks and the construction of building to celebrate natural beauty and the colors of this rich land.
One particular mention is due to the art of Giuseppe De Nittis, who was born in Barletta and then moved to Paris to become an inspired impressionist painter.
Almost completely destroyed by a devasting fire in 1991, it took an enormous effort to be reconstructed and restored to its former glory. In 2009 the Teatro Petruzzelli, the cultural gem and largest theatre of Apulia, was re-inaugurated. The Petruzzelli Foundationo now manages the theatre and its production that span to opera, ballet, prose, classical and more contemporary music.