‘A town that tingles all your senses.’
You know you’re in Apulia, is when you naturally awake in the mornings to the perfect blend of church bells and pigeons cooing on rooftops warming up in the deep sunrays. I open our aqua tinted double balcony doors to witness the soft hues of the old town and soak in the feeling of this coastal town. The low sun flare causes my eyes to twitch and all I here is the occasional vespa buzzing in the backdrop and the sound of enoteca shutters sliding open. The little town slowly comes to life and the subtle charm makes it too easy to fall in love with Monopoli. Now it’s time for that perfect frothy cappuccino, I so deeply crave.
A charismatic town in the Adriatic coast in the province of Bari, Monopoli surrounds with turquoise clear waters that fulfills anyone’s visual and seafood cravings. There is a beautiful aura here, the mornings begin with a flock of fishermen mending their nets at shorefront in Porto Vecchio, while locals gather to sip coffee with newspaper at hand in the main piazza. Life is calm here, the salty sea breeze and harmonious white streets with the occasional cyan door passing you buy creates, without a doubt, a photographic dream.
Just like many other little towns in Puglia, Monopoli fills with intertwining cobbled streets, shaded archways, limestone walls, flowerpot lined allies and little corners that tingle all your senses, the way they should. With a kaleidoscope of cobalt blue or ruby red geranium spilling over balconies, every façade is pinterest worthy and the scents of freshly hung laundry mixed with authentic cooking lingers in the air as you pass numerous local Tavernas. Find tranquility in the small port that still harbors traditional “u vozz” fishing boats as it did a hundred years ago, that are piercing blue and red in color made entirely of wood. They contrast against the golden walls of the castle and illuminate against the glistening sun that spreads over the shallow waters of the bay. Getting lost in the backstreets of the old town will feed your eyes and that chilled glass of dry prosecco will quench your thirst from the heat. Meanwhile, a slow mouth-watering lunch followed by a double shot of espresso in the presence of southern hospitality will feed or actually fulfill your soul in a way that will keep you wanting more. Needless to say, my husband and I have been coming to Italy nine years in a row. This is our happy place.
Southern Italy is the epitome of slow food, old cities, captivating countryside and intriguing baroque architecture that creates a foundation for the alluring life in Puglia. There is a real appreciation for fresh-pressed olive oil, primitivo wines, old-fashioned pasta making, seafood and local organic food. Monopoli’s white softness comes to life when the sun reflects the winding streets and is most enjoyable when you can look out to sea while digging your fingers in the freshest of seafood. End your days in a cozy vino bar and take a stroll listening to the majestic waves and sneak a fior di latte gelato to make sure your diet doesn’t get the best of you!
Long history short, Monopoli was founded by the Greek, ruled by the Romans and attacked by several invaders. Once a thriving port town, fishermen inhabited the area and hence today the seafaring culture plays a significant and proud role reflecting authentic values of a Mediterranean and Eastern tradition. The name “monos polis” originates from Greek meaning ‘unique city’ and it all makes sense, if you surrender to the richness of the town and get lost in the alluring culture.
Monopoli sits in a great location as it makes exploring the surroundings ideal. Additionally, idyllic Polignano a Mare lays just up the coast and other picturesque towns such as Alberobello, Ostuni and Martina Franca are a scenic fiat 500 ride away. Eat antipasti all day and bring along a great boho dress to match the laid back lifestyle. Carry a camera at all times along with an appetite and get ready for that desired Apulian dream. Monopoli will give you tranquility if you stop and let it capture your heart.
Wander: Explore the neighbouring coastal town, Polignano a Mare. Take a white-washed scenic route through the countryside to one of the great towns like Martina Franca, Ostuni or Loccorrotondo.
Rest: For a luxurious experience, stay at Don Ferrante Dimore that overlooks the entire sea and you can enjoy the little pool on the rooftop terrace. For an equally as charming choice (and less hefty on the wallet), enjoy the charming Palazzo Bregante. It’s a small boutique hotel that has a divine healthy breakfast that is very instagram friendly. We had a room with french balcony overlooking the old town making the location splendid.
Love: Walk around the maze like old town and stop for antipasti in one of the corner tavernas. Take a dip in the water in the little beach and walk along the outerline of the town to whitness the beautiful sea. Monopoli is filled with seafood restaurants, so enjoy all the delights it has to offer.