Monopoli's Old Town - Pretty as a Picture

It was thrilling to stay in an apartment in the old town of Monopoli, Puglia and to take part in the daily dramas. One day, from our windows, we watched a small lorry, only six inches narrower than the street, take thirty minutes to reverse down it, accompanied by a lot of sighing and shaking of heads and some well meant but hardly practical advice. Once the show was over I skipped down two flights of narrow steps to ground level, placed my plastic bag of rubbish on the door step and then made my way through the alleyways that opened out in Piazza Garibaldi. My daily breakfast (included) was a coffee and a croissant at the Premiato Caffè Venezia. The square was quiet and I found a table outside where I could watch the town slowly come to life.
Breakfast at Premiato Caffè Venezia in Monopoli, Puglia in Italy
That day there was an unusual amount of activity for the hour – people were arriving with flags and banners. I moved on and was delighted to encounter the local band parading through the streets and after one wrong turn followed by a long discussion of the right way to proceed I found myself back in the square I had just left but now it was full of protesters and the band was stationary once more.
The local band parades through the old town of  Monopoli in Puglia, Italy -9996
The local band has to lay down its instruments due to a demonstration in Piazza Garibaldi in the old town of  Monopoli in Puglia, Italy -0017
As always I felt a frisson of pleasure as I stepped out of the square and onto the old port. Little blue fishing boats bobbed on the water, the oars of rowers from the local club slapped the water rhythmically and round the corner the whirr of cranes unloading commercial cargoes blended with the crash of waves on the rocky shore.
The old port in Monopoli, Puglia in Italy
Catch of the day in Monopoli, Puglia in Italy
Boathouse of Monopoli's rowing club in  Monopoli in Puglia, Italy - -8848
The commercial port in Monopoli, Puglia in Italy
I left the old port through the arch in the walls by the Charles V Castle and strolled along the sea front to the bastion of Santa Maria pausing for a while to watch some young fisherman on the rocks.
Entrance from Charles v Castle to the odl port of Monopli in Puglia, Italy
Promenading around Charles V Castle in Monopoli, Puglia in Italy
Bastion of Santa Maria on the sea front of Monopli in Puglia, Italy
Fishing on the sea front in Monopoli, Puglia in Italy
I turned off the lungomare (promenade) and followed a narrow cobbled street into the old town intending to explore some more but almost immediately I came across a traditional restaurant serving traditional food so I went inside to sample the famous orecchiette con le cime di rapa – ear-shaped pasta with ‘turnip tops’.
A typically narrow street in the old town of Monopoli in Pugalia, Italy
traditonal restaurant the old town of Monopoli in Puglia, Italy
Orecchiette con le cime di rapa - (Pasta with turnip tops - the Puglian signature dish
From the roof terrace above my room I had admired a skyline of spires and bell towers and now I wanted to explore the buildings beneath them and in particular the churches with Rupestrian crypts.
Skyline of the old town of Monopoli in Puglia, Italy -
Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Amalfitani in the old town of Monopoli in Puglia, Italy - -8786
Rupestrian crypt in Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Amalfitani in the old town of Monopoli in Puglia, Italy
Chiesa Santa Teresa in the old town of Monopoli in Puglia, Italy - -
It was early evening and time to return to Piazza Garibaldi for an ice cream. when I rounded the corner I was amazed at the transformation the peaceful square of the early morning was now a frenzy of queues for tables outside the bars and restaurants inter-mingled with the longest queue of all – at the gelateria. When in Rome …
Evening in Piazza Garibaldi in Monopoli in Puglia, Italy - -8852
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Getting there
British Airways operates flights from London Gatwick to Bari and there are trains and buses from the airport to Bari Central railway station. From Bari Central there are regular trains to Monopoli I found my accommodation through www.booking.com

This article is now featured on GPSMyCity as a Guided Travel Article to download use the Article Page URL or Link to the iOS article app

Published by: Valery Collins
Categories: GPSMyCity Guided Articles, Puglia

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Author, Valery Collins

About the Author - Valery Collins
London, England

I have been addicted to travel since I was three years old and escaped from the confines of the family home and set off for Windsor – on foot. After qualifying as a solicitor I took a gap year and worked as a tour leader on a freelance basis. That was 20 years ago and I am still working as a tour leader. Over the years I have ridden camels, horses and an ostrich, walked and skied in mountains and followed the Inca trail and climbed towers and temples. I write honest reviews of my travels in the hope it will inspire others to follow in my footsteps.

Valery on the Zugspitzplatt above Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria

While travelling I have always kept a diary and that was the basis of my first book about my experiences. Then I discovered blogging which is a great outlet for both my writing and my photography.

Recently I became a regular contributor to GPSMyCity and my city guides have been converted to Guided Travel Articles

Valery Collins