Where is Monopoli located?
Monopoli is, on the Adriatic, one of the most active and populous ports in the region. Its characteristic historic center of early medieval origin, superimposed on the remains of a fortified Messapian settlement as early as the fifth century BC, overlooks the sea surrounded by high walls.
What to see in Monopoli?
One can only start the list of things to see in Monopoli right from the ancient port of Monopoli. This exceptional corner of the city is truly beautiful. In fact, to give an idea, we could compare the Porto Antico to an elegant wedding favor on a human scale, embraced by a beautiful and very romantic walk.
This is an attraction in Monopoli that you must absolutely see to enjoy the scent of the sea; to fill your eyes with the colorful boats of local fishermen; to admire the façade of historic buildings that are reflected in the water. When the sun goes down, the port is enriched with life and lights that make it even more beautiful !.
In short, if you want to give yourself a moment of inner peace, include this corner in your itinerary in Monopoli
Among the things to see in Monopoli you cannot miss one of the most beautiful beaches in the center of Monopoli: Cala Porta Vecchia. As soon as you sink your eyes into this corner of the city, you will be invaded by the blue shades of its sea so crystalline and transparent that it looks like a swimming pool.
The area of the Monopoli countryside is the most affected by the archaeological excavations linked to ancient rock settlements; in the direction of Castellana Grotte, among rows of vineyards, centuries-old olive groves and orchards, it is easy to find the trulli. The characteristic houses that have made the nearby town of Alberobello famous are made of stone, with a circular plan, with a curious cone-shaped roof. They are presumed to have a prehistoric origin and a profound and esoteric significance; in feudal times they were used by peasants to shelter from the summer heat.
BEST BEACHES IN MONOPOLI
We will point out the best beaches in Monopoli where you can absolutely take a bath and not to be missed:
Cala Porta Vecchia
Cala Porta Rossa
Santo Stefano beach
The importance of the Co-Cathedral Basilica of Maria Santissima della Madia goes beyond the religious aspect. An excavation campaign conducted in the 1980s has in fact ascertained the human presence in these territories long before the Roman domination. More specifically, it emerged that the original 12th-century Romanesque-style basilica was built on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to the cult of Maia and Mercury. Consecrated in 1442, the Cathedral over the centuries has undergone several extensions, culminating in the 1700s with the demolition of the previous Romanesque building for the benefit of a new Baroque style church. A choice in line with the architectural dictates of the time but which also obeyed the need to adapt the building to the increased number of faithful. The church is divided into three naves, each with a different entrance portal. The side aisles host 4 chapels for one and end by meeting two flights of stairs which in turn lead to the Chapel of the Madonna della Madia. Chapel, where in addition to the Byzantine icon of the Virgin, columns, decorations, polychrome marbles and refined and expensive friezes stand out, so much so that it took almost a century (from mid-18th to mid-19th century) to complete the work . In short, the cathedral of Monopoli is one of the most important churches in Puglia, and beyond.
Do not miss the celebrations of 14 and 15 August with processions by land and by sea and all the religious folklore typical of Southern Italy.
What to eat in Monopoli? Where to eat in Monopoli?
Like any self-respecting seaside resort, Monopoli boasts some exceptional places to enjoy a good seafood meal, not only for the goodness of the dishes, but also for the positions close to the sea that make these places truly special.
What to do in Monopoli?
January: waiting for the befana. The bonfire “nonn mariodd”, an ancient tradition where you will have the opportunity to taste typical products and Christmas sweets, waiting for the befana. During the evening, the participation of musical groups is expected.
February: national day for life. Mass dedicated to unborn children at the parish of Sant ‘Antonio. March for life with various associations.
March 19: feast of St. Joseph. Novena, solemn celebrations of 19 March and procession with the effigy of the saint through the streets of the historic center of Monopoli, accompanied by the music of the band. The festival is enriched by lights and traditional bonfires, the lighting of which marks the auspicious passage from winter to prosperous spring.
Holy Week: on Holy Thursday there is the traditional visit to the tombs. On the evening of Good Friday, one of the most evocative city performances takes place, the Good Friday procession. A procession during which the statues symbolizing the various moments of the passion, crucifixion and death of Christ, and that of Maria SS. Sorrowful. The statues are carried on the shoulders by the brothers accompanied by the characteristic sound of the “troccole”, which bring to mind the sound of nails driven into the cross. The statues meet in the streets of the ancient village.
May first Sunday: feast of San Francesco da Paola, patron saint of Monopoli and of the seafarers. The feast begins with the triduum in the church of San Francesco da Paola. Procession with the statue of the saint who, starting from Piazza San Francesco da Paola, will walk the streets of the town until arriving in Largo Portavecchia, where there will be the blessing of the sea. Following the procession will return to the convent. In the evening band, fireworks display, lights and festival of panzerotti, stuffed pancakes and fish.
1-2-3-August: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The celebrations begin with the procession through the streets of the district. Sports program with burraco tournaments, table football, clay pigeon shooting and table football in pairs. The civil program begins with the festival of the paw to enjoy a sandwich with the paw. To conclude the festival, the traditional fireworks.
14-15 August: re-enactment of the miraculous landing of the Madonna della madia. Citizens and tourists flock to Cala Battery, the port area where the re-enactment of the miraculous landing takes place, accompanied by traditional fireworks.
4-5-6-October: Madonna del Rosario feast in the Cozzana district. The feast begins with prayer and with the pilgrimage of the image of Mary for the families of the district. In the evening the party comes alive with music, songs, dances and shows accompanied by the tasty festivals of porchetta and panzerotto. To see the market of artistic and handicraft products set up inside the former school of the Madonna del Rosario.
December 16: sea raft festival of the patronal feast of the Madonna di Madia. The precious icon of the Madonna, escorted by sailors, arrives on a raft. In the last stretch of sea, the raft is escorted to divers who with their torches illuminate the path, with fireworks. Then follows the procession with the civil and military authorities.
December: living nativity scenes and cavalcade of the Magi who will arrive in the Cozzana district and will ride along the road that will lead to the grotto of the child Jesus, set up near the new church of the Madonna del Rosario.
The history of Monopoli:
The city of Monopoli would draw its ancient origins from a mighty Messapian fortress located on the border of Peucezia. The Messapian walls probably encircled the entire peninsula identified by the cove known as the Porta Vecchia and the cove of the Porto Antico; along via dei Mulini, inside the Bastion of Santa Maria, under the Castle, near the Bishop’s Palace, important sections of the fortifications of the fifth century BC are still preserved.
From the Roman era only the large fortified gate remains, incorporated into the Castle, and some tombs in the underground area of the Cathedral. According to the dubious testimony reported by the local historian Giuseppe Indelli, in the year 43 St. Peter would have preached, in passing, to a group of Monopolitan citizens. From the 1st century BC up to the end of the 3rd century AD. it is a predominantly military port. Later, thanks to the arrival of the Egnatini refugees from their city (destroyed by Totila, king of the Goths), Monopoli would have become a center of prime commercial importance: from the 10th century it became an important port (as well as the only one of a certain importance ) between Bari and Brindisi, a meeting point between the hinterland and the sea. It also became a crossroads for travel and contacts with the East during the Crusades, with consequent great economic and demographic development. It was during the Middle Ages that the city of Monopoli experienced its maximum expansion, so much so as to incorporate the territories of the current cities of Fasano, Locorotondo, Alberobello and Cisternino. In 1041 the so-called battle of Monopoli took place between the Byzantines and the Normans with the imprisonment of Exausto. The city joins the Apulian insurrection asking for the help of the Normans. In 1042 Byzantium sent the famous and cruel general Giorgio Maniace prince and Vicar of the Emperor of Constantinople to Puglia, who immediately turned against the city but, failing to take it, raged on the countryside and rural villages, with terrible massacres and cruelty .
In 1045 Monopoli was assigned, but only on paper, to Ugo Toute-Bone in the Norman assembly of Melfi. However, Ugo only managed to conquer it in 1049, using the burial of the canal port which allowed him to circumvent the strong land defenses. Subsequently the city, loyal to Frederick II during his minor age, suffered numerous attacks by the rebel barons without ever being conquered. During these sieges the walls are significantly damaged and Frederick II shows his gratitude by rebuilding and expanding them.
The Ionian islands (Ettaneso) county conquered by Maio di Monopoli.
At the beginning of the 13th century, the fictional but documented story of Maio di Monopoli takes place, a monopoly pirate who, having killed a person of high rank, was forced to flee from Monopoli to Kefalonia with a group of followers. He managed to conquer the Ionian islands (Kefalonia, Corfu, Zakynthos, Ithaca) becoming their count. He consolidated his power by marrying Anna Angelo in 1226, daughter of Teodoro Angelo Ducas and Zoe Ducas, very powerful characters at the imperial court of Constantinople. From her he had two or perhaps three children, among them the eldest son Giovanni and Riccardo, murdered in 1303. Two of his encounters with the Emperor Frederick II are documented. The date of his death after January 1238 is not known with certainty.
Where to sleep in Monopoli?
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Why visit Monopoli?
In the summer, the bedlam of young people and tourists gathers for the most part in the areas in front of the sea, or directly on the seafront, in fact in these areas there are the most exclusive clubs and restaurants of the summer, as well as concerts and theme parties that are organized during the holiday months are really numerous, and at most you run the risk of not getting bored! Endless discos!
We recommend that you include an aimless stroll through the alleys of the historic center. In this way, you will discover many glimpses and secondary streets worthy of being seen and away from the mass of tourists. In fact, right in the alleys, we found many photogenic places but also scenes of everyday life.
Monopoli is a charming tourist center with waters of sea clear and crystalline. The old village it is picturesque and very vast with a big evening movement, a real nightlife.
The land – sea combination creates a very picturesque coastal landscape. The coast is full of numerous beaches and coves such as those of the famoslocation Capitolo.