In today’s video we are going to talk about a really incredible Italian location, waiting to be discovered and loved, thanks to its wonderful peculiarities: POLIGNANO A MARE.
The history of Polignano
Several studies indicate that Polignano has its origins in the Neolithic, thanks to the different historical finds came to light, dating back that time. By the way it was from the III century B.C. that the town increased its importance, because it became a strategic point for the powerful Taranto, which traded with.
It became an important trading center for the Romans too who had a great influence in the area as showed, for example, by the building of the bridge of the Via Traiana, which passes over the Lama Monachile, connecting Rome and Brindisi and going through Polignano. Precisely for the great influence exerted by the Romans, the identity of the founder of the town was discussed a lots: it is considered, in fact, that it might have been founded by the emperor Giulio Cesare following the destruction of a castle which stood in that area or by the consul Cajo Mario d’Arpino who required the building of the Turris Caesaris, around which the Greeks edified the town. About the origin and the meaning of the name, it is believed that comes from Neapolis, an ancient sea colony which was in the same area where Polignano was built.
The name probably means “luogo eminente” namely built up high, just like Polignano. In the VI century Polignano was under the jurisdiction of the Byzantine Empire. Following the arrival of the Normans, who ruled until 1194, the town increased further its prestige. From the XVI century, Polignano, went under the Venetian Rule, as showed by the presence of the Doge’s Palace, until it was given up to King Charles V of Spain in 1530.
Economy of Polignano
Despite its relevance as strategic trading point and the sea views, the territorial conformation didn’t let the Polignano to be included among the most important trading harbours, because of the inability to build, until modern times, safe harbours to anchor ships, therefore it was impossible for Polignano to develop the fishing tradition which characterizes the other Apulian coastal areas. By the way it’s possible to enjoy fish-based food like the crudo di mare or i panini di pescarìa, namely sandwiches filled with different fish products like: swordfish, polyps and shrimp. The economy of the place is related, mostly, to agriculture. The production of vegetables is particularly known – especially salad and potatoes – and olive. Moreover the production of the typical Carota di Polignano, also known “Bastinaca di San Vito”, because produced in the rural area of the fraction of di San Vito, is well renowned.
Another fundamental aspect of the economy of the town is tourism, pushed by the strong naturalistic and historical part, offered by the place with its sea caves and the remains of the Roman domination like the presence of the Via Traiana, still viable. even the Old town has several peculiarities to offer like the narrow streets that stand the test of time and that, in a limited space, contain: shops, locali, white houses with flowered and sky-blue balconies, but, above all, the writings on the doors and walls of the town which usually are quotes by great artists and writers.
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getting back to Polignano…
Things to see in Polignano
Polignano can count on a series of places, monuments and works you can’t absolutely miss:
- As we mentioned, the Lama Monachile is, definitely, the most famous place in Polignano. It is compos by two overhanging rock walls with an inlet in the middle, it is on the via Traiana and takes that name from the presence of monk seals. In the past it was used as trading harbour.
- There are 70 sea caves which represent one of the most important natural attraction, created by the erosiva action of water and wind. You can visit them thanks to the numerous tours year-round organized.
- The statue of Domenico Modugno is another great attraction: it is made of bronze with the face of the famous Italian singer-songwriter, and it is placed on the seafront so that it does not turn its back neither to the sea nor the town. At its back there’s a stairway which leads to a rocky surface, which looks out to Cala Monachile, the cliff and the Old town.
- The Abbey of San Vito Martire is the principal artistic attraction of the place. The church, which has a Benedictine foundation, was designed in the X century. The elegant abbey we can admire today is the result of architectural modifications happened through the centuries, while the elegant baroque features are particularly fascinating, like the external stairway that from the court leads to the porch that looks out to sea.
- The Matrice Church, placed in Vittorio Emanuele square and it was made in honor of Santa Maria Assunta. Internally you can admire the works of the Renaissance sculptor Stefano da Putignano and the work of Bartolomeo Vivari titledl “Polittico della Madonna con bambino e Santi”, dating back to XIV century.
Anyways, these are just some of the beauties of Polignano a Mare, it’s up to you to find them all out and to live a totally unforgettable experience.
Did you enjoy this video? If you want, you can also have a look at my vlog in Bologna!