The Apulian Romanesque Churches and the Swabian Age Architecture

A journey through the province of Bari, where cathedrals dating back to the Romanesque Apulian age coexist with the most celebrated examples of the military and civilian architecture of the region’s golden age: the reign of Frederick II of Swabia.


Bari, Bitonto, Molfetta

Bari is the ideal departure point for this trip, with its world famous Saint Nicholas Basilica, its elegant cathedral and its Swabian- Aragonese castle, historic buildings surrounded by a city center full of atmosphere. The purest and clearest example of Romanic Apulian architecture can be found in Bitonto, known since antiquity for its excellent oil. Overcrowded with people every year on 8th September for the Madonna of Martyrs Feast, the old Mofetta stretches out into the sea displaying an unusual urban layout in a herringbone pattern. The town is rich in houses and churches witnessing the past prosperity, while the dock’s view is dominated by the shimmering of the Saint Corrado Duomo.

the port of Molfetta    Saint Nicholas Basilica of Bari    Bitonto’s cathedral     Bari’s cathedral


Castel del Monte, Ruvo di Puglia, Altamura

A place not to be missed is Castel del Monte, masterpiece of the Swabian architecture registered in the UNESCO World heritage, just a short walk away from the old city centre of Ruvo di Puglia where, besides the eccentric cathedral, you can visit the Jatta National Museum which boasts an impressive collection of Magna Graecia vases. Crossing southwards the Alta Murgia National Park you get to Altamura, the town founded by Emperor Frederick II over a prehistorical settlement, where you can scout the Arabic cloister shaped quarters and admire the cathedral and its outstanding portal framed by impressively detailed basreliefs. Don’t forget Altamura is the bread DOC’s capital!

Castel del Monte    Altamura’s cathedral    detail of Altamura’s cathedral     detail of Ruvo di Puglia’s cathedral   



Barletta, Trani, Bisceglie

Barletta, acknowledged as a ‘town of artistic interest’, is well worth visiting for its Swabian castle, its many ancient churches and the Art Gallery pinacoteca De Nittis housed in the baroque Palazzo della Marra. A few kilometres south by the sea you enter Trani whose main draw is the scenic cathedral looking like a huge boat just been moored; protected and controlled by the Swabian castle the old town i sto wander through for its rich facades and the old Jewish Ghetto. A few kilometres south again by the sea Bisceglie features a very interesting old quarter partly well restored partly still sadly abandoned; something unique you can find in the very close countryside is the perfectly preserved dolmen tombs dating back the Bronze Age.

Pinacoteca De Nittis at Barletta’s Palazzo Marra    Trani’s cathedral    the portal of Trani's cathedral    the medieval synagogue in Trani   Santa Margherita church in Bisceglie




Are you looking for a customized tour?

Please feel free to contact us to design your ideal holiday. We can advise on selecting guided tours, securing transportation and accommodations, arranging cycling equipment. By email  -
By phone Angela Galgano +39 0835 333085 +39 349 6448966 for info about Basilicata Silvia Sesana +39 335 6809637 for info about Puglia