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The Itria\'s Valley and the coast of Monopoli and Polignano a Mare

Trulli (traditional drystone huts) enclosed by vineyards and olive groves stretch as far as the eye can see - this is the authentic side of the Itria Valley. The panorama is filled with a timeless magic, in the heart of which lie fascinating villages like Alberobello, Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Cisternino. Ostuni appears as a mirage, standing splendidly on a hillside rising from a green plateau that's covered with olive trees and that eventually dives into the blue of the Adriatic Sea. Take a stroll down the narrow streets and admire the beautiful courtyards and piazzas crowned with small white houses, artisans' workshops and restaurants that prepare delectable roasts and flavorful seasonal vegetables. Life is serene here, filled with the fragrances and flavors of yore. Take a break in the plain of Fasano and stop in a masseria, a historical manor farm that has been transformed into a wellness resort. These ancient homes, hidden in gardens of aromatic herbs, have a story to tell and their terraces offer breathtaking views. Let your senses guide you in the discovery of different habitats: centuries-old olive groves and pastures, fossil dunes, and enchanting beaches. Plunge into history at Egnazia and dive into transparent waters near the archeological sites, and swim in the pristine seas of the large, protected marine nature reserve of Torre Guaceto. (Fonte http://www.viaggiareinpuglia.it) The city of Monopoli The outline of a castle and ancient walls announce the beautiful town of Monopoli, which overlooks the Adriatic Sea 40 km (25 miles) from Bari. The town’s 99 contrade (districts) stretch out flatly, allowing you to admire them entirely with a single glance from the splendid belvedere of Loggia del Pilato. This natural terrace, on the road to Selva di Fasano, overlooks a countryside characterized by masserie (farmsteads), churches, rupestrian settlements, and villas. The symbol of the town is the Castello Carlo V (Castle of Charles V), which stands on the promontory of Punta Penna, and today hosts exhibitions and conferences. You'll find well conserved and carefully restored masserie in the heart of the marina, as well as in the low-lying hills and flat interior. Also in the countryside is the Lama degli Ulivi Botanical Garden with its caves, rupestrian churches, and more than 2,000 species of Mediterranean flora. Local celebrations include the festivities held to honour the patron saints Cosmas and Damian on the first weekend in June, and the re-enactment of the landing of the raft carrying the statue of the Madonna della Madia, on August 14th and December 16th. Polignano a Mare Crystal clear waters and cliffs pitted with caves carved by the sea give Polignano a Mare its uniqueness. A small town, known also as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” it's just over 30 km (18.5 miles) from Bari. Poligano is the birthplace of the renowned singer Domenico Modugno, who became famous for his song Nel blu dipinto di blu (“In the Sky, Painted Blue”). The fascinating historical centre reveals traces of its Arab, Byzantine, Spanish and Norman past, including the remains of the four watchtowers that once guarded the ancient town. Head through the Arco della Porta (the Door Arch), once the town's only entrance, and you'll find yourself in the magical centre, home to the 13th-century Mother Church dedicated to the Assumption. Another must-see is the town’s former slaughterhouse, which has been renovated and today houses the Pino Pascali Museum Foundation and its collection of works by Puglia's renowned artist and sculptor. The high cliffs and jagged coastline between Palazzese Cave and Lama Monachile, make Polignano's shoreline one of Puglia's most beautiful coastal stretches, peppered with hidden inlets and charming sandy bays. (Fonte www.viaggiareinpuglia.it)

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