Far from the Apulian coast and close to the border with Basilicata there is a city famous for the identity of the historic center and for its gastronomic excellence: Altamura. Let’s better know this pearl of Puglia.
Altamura is located in the hinterland of the province of Bari, almost on the border with Basilicata and very close to the city of Sassi, extending largely in the Alta Murgia National Park.
This town is renowned for its DOP bread, the IGP lentil, the discovery of the Homo of Neanderthal, its archaeological and naturalistic sites and its beautiful monuments. In short, it is a destination to visit on your next trip to Puglia.
The history of Altamura
The first human settlements in the city of Altamura date back thousands of years before Christ, but the complex of walls named after it was built half a century before the year zero.
The town has seen the succession of various civilizations (and names), reborn under the reign of Frederick II through the construction of his cathedral, the construction of small squares surrounded by alleys (cloistered) and the arrival of foreign people.
We must wait for the mid-eighteenth century to attend the institution of the University of Studies, thanks to which the city was invested by the ideals of the French Revolution. Strong of these ideals, now inculcated, the citizens mobilized against the siege of the militias of the Holy See, conquering for the city the title of “Lioness of Puglia”.
What to see in Altamura
The city of Altamura attracts a growing number of tourists every year, thanks to its characteristics, its historic center and its archaeological wealth. What is beautiful about Altamura?
One of the symbols of the city is the cathedral built by Frederick II, although much of the structure was rebuilt in the Angevin era following the earthquake of the fourteenth century. The original Romanesque style of the church has been enriched with Gothic and Baroque elements. Once inside, you can admire both the imposing organ and two paintings of the nineteenth century.
In addition to the cathedral dedicated to the Assumption, you can visit other churches: church of Our Lady of the Rosary; church of the Sacred Heart; church of the Holy Trinity; church of Santa Maria della Consolazione; church of San Giovanni Bosco; Church of Saint Nicholas.
The city is known for the discovery of the Man of Altamura: the remains of the Homo of Neanderthal were found in a cave of Lamalunga in the early nineties. Inside the Palazzo Baldassarre it is possible to know how the discovery and the history of the hominid took place and to observe many finds of the time.
Walking along the city you can visit the so-called Claustri di Altamura, that is the small squares of the center surrounded by houses and accessible through narrow streets and narrow streets.
You can immerse yourself in the culture of the area (and the South in general) by visiting the Ethnographic Museum of Alta Murgia. There are preserved objects and tools used in the fields, in craft shops, in sheep farming and in domestic life.
Not far from the center is the Pulo of Altamura, a crater-shaped dolina seventy-five meters deep and five hundred meters wide created as a result of the continuous conveying of water. It is perfect for hiking and hiking.
The Bosco Sauro is a gem not to be missed, especially if you are traveling with children: it is an open-air museum where dinosaurs have been reconstructed in a natural scale. For those who do not know, in fact, in a quarry not far from the city fossilized dinosaur footprints have been found.
What to eat in Altamura?
The city of Altamura is known for the pane PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). It is a bread prepared with semolina of hard wheat, sourdough and water and then cooked in a wood oven.
Bread is not the only specialty to enjoy at Altamura. In the restaurants of the city you can taste the cuisine of Bari: the chops, calzone, fricone, soup beans and chicory, fried mussels, baked lampascioni and more.
You can not leave without having tasted the cold wafer (stale bread seasoned with oil, garlic, onion, tomato, turnips and olives) and baked bread (bread boiled with seasonal vegetables and then seasoned with local pecorino cheese).
Where to sleep in Altamura
You don’t have to wonder what to see in Altamura in half a day: the city offers various accommodation solutions to meet the needs of every traveller, from bed and breakfasts to hotels to houses and farmhouses.
Events not to be missed
Altamura encourages tourism all year round, but some events make your stay truly unforgettable.
Among the events not to be missed are the Feast of Our Lady of Buoncammino which falls on the first Sunday after August. On this occasion the statue of Our Lady is carried in procession on a cart along the streets of the town celebrating.
Between October and November the medieval festival Federicus is organized in which the visit of Frederick II to Altamura is recalled and the hands are brought back to the time of the Middle Ages.