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Monopoli, between artists and fishermen

Monopoli Puglia

Monopoli, a maritime city that stands on the shores of the Adriatic coast, is one of the busiest ports in Puglia. The city has its historical roots in ancient times, which date back to pre-Roman times. Monopoli would in fact draw its origins from the Messapians, a tribe that populated the areas of Salento. Over the centuries, the seaside village has undergone the influence of Roman culture first and then of French and Spanish culture during the Renaissance period.

The port

port monopoli puglia

One of the areas of greatest interest and which embodies the spirit and cultural tradition of the city is the port. However, a distinction must be made between the commercial port and the ancient port. The first is the one that today fulfills the actual function of city port. The second instead ended its role as a commercial port around the beginning of the 1900s. The ancient port has origins that go back thousands of years. In fact, these date back to the Messapian tribes mentioned above.

Over the centuries, the port area of the city has assumed ever greater importance, becoming a focal point of the seaside village, so much so that part of it has been incorporated within the Charles V castle. To date, the port hosts only the fishing boats of the locals, making it a place with a suggestive atmosphere, which evokes the echoes of centuries-old tradition. 

monopoli puglia

The historic centre

This broad and varied historical and cultural background is reflected in the very structure of the city. The historic center of Monopoli in fact preserves the traits and signs of the city's history, representing a real jewel for Puglia.

The historic center of Monopoli is the symbol of the city. It brings with it all the history and culture of the seaside village. This develops around the Cathedral Basilica of Maria Santissima della Madia. The very first construction of the cathedral dates back to the Romanesque era, around the 12th century. This was built on the ashes of a pagan temple consecrated to Mercury, which was demolished to make way for the cathedral. In the 18th century the basilica was demolished and rebuilt in full Baroque style. 

Moving away from the port area, therefore, you have access to the historic center, a maze of alleys that almost takes on the appearance of a labyrinth. The streets in the center embody the soul of the city. The suggestive white buildings are the background to a ball of streets animated by the voices of the people who populate them.

Monopoli Puglia

The noise

In this context, it is impossible not to mention the chiassi, the real symbol of the historic centre. The chiassi are alleys, often blind, overlooked by buildings with irregular shapes full of balconies, doors and loggias, which delimit a small common courtyard closed on three sides. Even behind the chiassi there is a very interesting story. Initially the alleys from which they later derived were not closed. They were made at a later time. The reason is partly of a strategic nature: remaining closed on three sides and leaving only one open, they were simultaneously easy to defend and above all a fatal trap for the enemies who remained trapped there.

Monopoli Puglia

But that wasn't the only function of the chiassi. The common courtyard, the atrium, in fact assumed an important function of social glue. It was there that the inhabitants of the alley met, and it was there that relations between the citizens were consolidated. Remnant of urban plans developed in the Middle Ages, the chiassi are today one of the most important tourist attractions in Monopoli.

Monopoli Puglia

Monopoli as an art center 

Monopoli is not just a city with an impressive historical and cultural heritage. To date, the Apulian city is an art center of international standing. Suffice it to say that last September the city hosted the second edition of an extremely important artistic event, Panorama. The historic center of the city is the ideal place to host an art exhibition. The alleys, alleys and alleys are used to host the works of art offered by the exhibition, so as to make the historic center an even more evocative place.

Monopoli Puglia

Monopoli was also the protagonist of the recent PhEST - the international festival of art and photography. The event, which was held between the end of October and the beginning of November, colored the city, bringing a large number of tourists and art and photography enthusiasts to discover the city. The total number of exhibits on display amounts to 32. Particularly suggestive, among the outdoor ones, was the exhibition set up on the Ancient wall of Porta Vecchia. 

Ultimately, Monopoli is a city with a historical, cultural and artistic heritage of inestimable value, projected towards the future but respecting and enhancing the traditions that have characterized its history.

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