You must have thought about it and probably asked yourself; does this Monopoli have any relation to the board game? Well, the locals have heard jokes on this for a long time they are immune to them. The history of Monopoli has to a large extent been influenced by the fact that it faces the east and its sea front has walls that build a fortress around it. There is also a castle that harbors many interesting tales about how the town came to be what it is today.
How to tour Monopoli
You will not miss the Piazza XX Settembre, at least if you ask around. You will know you are close by if you catch site of a colorful market street. Go on the east and take the direction that leads to the cathedral. To find your bearing, lift up your head and there it is – an elegant bell tower. The tower has been standing there since 693 and is a towering 60 meters high; it completely dwarfs the town it overlooks.
The cathedral is not a destination you will wish to just pass by – at least pop in quickly and head on by. Still heading east, it will not be long before you get to the sea-front. Many people end their day trip here with a refreshing dip propped against the sandy bay and defensive walls. Continue straight ahead and down Via Papacenere, a lovely path that will lead you to the other side of the walls to the Lungomare sea-front promenade. This area is beautiful to watch and be a part of because it bears so many attractions; fine buildings including the Church of Santa Maria della Zaffira and Charles V Castle.
There is an archway right outside the castle which leads you to the port – you can spend some time here as you watch the vessels come and go. Wander around the first one that has a large group of fishermen busy with their work. Halfway through is a little street which leads back to the town, down Via Cimino and back to where you began at the Piazza XX Settembre street market.
Monopoli has something to offer all ages and below are sights you should purpose to catch on your travel;
- Beaches and Sea caves – apart from the fact that the Monopoli coastline is the ideal picture spot, the waters of the sea slip into beautiful caves around it. You will not see these wonders from the beaches so it is best to take a boat.
- The old harbor – you cannot come to Monopoli to do a vacation and miss out on a visit to the harbor. This is the best place to view marine life in their natural habitat. Going up to the lighthouse provides a view of the coastline that is simply unforgettable. Any time of the day is ideal for this activity but marine life comes to the surface of the water mostly when the temperatures are lower (sunset).
- The old town – like many of the other towns on the coastline, Monopoli boasts of a rich history. The center of the town looks like it has been pasted from an old book with its narrow alleys. Filled with restaurants, shops and bars, these narrow streets come to life at night when the young folks come to dance the night away at nightclubs.
- Carlo V Castle – the Monopoli castle sits upon the most strategic position of the town – the protruding promontory. For an old town on the coastline, this was a defense tactic for the port and city. The entire city on one side and the sea on the other are the beautiful views enjoyed from up there.
- Palmieri Palace – located at the heart of the town is the magnificent Palmieri Palace. With its majestic architecture and style, it bears great resemblance to a typical Neapolitan palace. The style is late Baroque and gets inspiration from Lecce palaces. In this place, there are many rooms that form an enclosure around a patio. While this interior patio is a great convergence spot for all energy within the palace, the gallery is quite crucial for the many collections it hosts.