By Roberto Petrus
CULTURAL TRADITIONS & FLAVORFUL CUISINE
Puglia is a region rich in cuisine, history, tradition and truly is indeed a hidden “Gem” Located in the heel of Italy’s boot. I can assure you while visiting Puglia you will not have to be concerned about massive groups of tourists, or in fact larger than expected crowds or inflated prices you will sometimes find in other big tourist spots.
This charming region was often in dispute with the north and was occupied for some time by Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Swabians and Normans. As it can be seen, this area has always been a meeting place for different cultures. This is evident and influenced with cultural traditions and flavorful cuisine.
I was born and raised in Monopoli, I still remember my childhood in a small house near the Cathedral. The cobblestone streets of the historic center and the contrast of the rich blue sky against the white of the buildings. Ten years ago there were barely any tourists here. Indeed, they were mostly emigrants who returned home to see their families, or local tourists that came from other regions of Southern Italy. Soon after everyone from near and far quickly fell in love with Monopoli’s charming atmosphere!
WHAT ATTRACTS TOURISTS VISITING PUGLIA ANF THE BEAUTIFUL TOWN OF MONOPOLI TODAY?
To give you an idea of what Puglia has to offer, I will share with you what makes this region so unique and special, often referred to as the pearl of southern Italy. I can describe Puglia as a wonderful kaleidoscope, for instance the green of the hills, the many parks, the deep valleys, and of course the cobalt blue color of the sea. Here is where visitors can also discover the wonderful remains left by man over the years, such as the rock churches, the Federiciani castle, the majestic Romanesque Cathedrals and the distinct farms.
FROM THE LOCAL NEIGHBORHOODS TO THE SEA
To validate the Greek etymology Mono-polis, which in essence means “Unique City”, the charm and allure of Monopoli expands from the sea, this truly is a significant tourist attraction, not to mention it is also covered in countryside areas with its neighborhoods that gradually rise up to the heights of the Adriatic Murgia.
The dry stone walls typically made with grayish color stones are very distinctive of the countryside, which are filled with numerous farms that preserve our simplicity, rustic and rich culture, typically built in white lime and tuff rock style.
The Masseria with its crenelated tower, a symbol of protection and residence of the Lords, was a structure that gave protection from attacks that came mainly from the sea and from the sudden invasions of Turkish pirates who had once conquered the Balkan Peninsula.
Monopoli in particular because of its port entry, was used for many exchanges, especially with the Venetian merchants who were sold fabrics and then in return brought them back, transforming them into clothing usually made by the peasants during the periods of non-working seasons in the fields.
Read the full article in Issue 19